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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.



The Mackintosh Man (1973) Previous
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Writer: Walter Hill / Director: John Huston / Producer: John Foreman
Type: Thriller Running Time: 95 mins
Joseph Rearden is an American agent who is assigned to work with British intelligence. He travels to London and meets at the undercover offices of MI5 chief Mackintosh. Rearden is briefed on his assignment by Mackintosh and his secretary Mrs Smith, a young French woman who has Mackintosh's complete trust. Rearden is to intercept a consignment of diamonds being sent incognito via the regular mail. His job is to waylay the postman and make it seem like a mugging then pass the package discreetly to Mrs Smith.

Rearden achieves his objectives and is getting ready to return home when the police come to arrest him after receiving an anonymous tip off. Rearden has false papers for his cover identity and cannot prove who he really is. He is tried in the courts and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for robbery with violence.

Chelmsford Prison is a high security institution and included amongst its many inmates is Ronald Slade, a communist sympathiser who spied for the Russians. After many months of incarceration Rearden is approached by an inmate named Soames-Trevelyan who informs Rearden he represents a network known as the Scarpers who can break anyone out of prison for a suitably large fee. They will guarantee to get that person out of the country and to a place of safety and have a 100% record of successes. Ronald Slade is going to be liberated by the Scarpers very soon and Rearden is offered a place too. Rearden agrees and arranges the payment from his secret bank account. The operation is meticulously planned and during an arranged diversion in the courtyard, Rearden and Slade are hoisted over the wall on a crane and sped away by motorbikes and into a van. They are rendered unconscious with drugs so that they don't learn of the secret destination where they will be held for several weeks until the police search dies down. When Rearden next wakes he finds himself in a country manor house at an unknown location. He meets country squire Brown who masterminds the operation.

The escape of the traitor Slade is big news and very embarrassing for the government. Rearden's simultaneous escape is just a minor footnote to the story. Opposition MP Sir George Wheeler is a fierce opponent of the government's security policies and makes plenty of reactionary political capital over their latest appalling blunder. Sir George and Mackintosh are old friends who served in the war together. Mackintosh takes Sir George discreetly aside and tells him that for the sake of their friendship he is breaking security and advising him that the recent escape was a planned operation and Slade's co-escapee is a planted agent whose assignment is to penetrate the organisation arranging the prison escapes. Mackintosh wishes to avoid Sir George the embarrassment of having to later retract his harsh criticisms when it is revealed that whole affair was orchestrated. Mackintosh confirms the operation is highly secret and no one besides himself knows that Rearden is really an undercover agent.

Very soon after that Rearden finds that his cover has been unaccountably blown and Squire Brown holds him prisoner and tortures him for information on who else knows about the operation. Rearden confirms that only Mackintosh knows the truth. Soon afterwards Mackintosh is the victim of a hit-and-run driver and is rushed to hospital where he remains unconscious in a coma. Rearden manages to escape from the manor house and discovers he is in Ireland. He phones Mackintosh's office and speaks to Mrs Smith who tells him about Mackintosh's accident. Mrs Smith knows all about the operation too and tells Rearden she will fly to Ireland and meet him. When she arrives she tells Rearden that Mackintosh has left a letter to be opened in the event of his death which will tell the prime minister of Rearden's innocence and the full details of the operation. She also reveals that Mackintosh is her father who had met her French mother during the war and that is why he trusts her so implicitly. She cannot figure out how Rearden's cover was blown because security was watertight with only the three of them knowing about it. She knows that on the day of his accident Mackintosh had been to see his old friend Sir George Wheeler at the Houses of Parliament but there was nothing remarkable about that.

The worst thing about the failed operation is that now Slade is at large and the plan had always been for him to be recaptured or killed. Then they discover that the very same Sir George Wheeler is holidaying in Ireland on his yacht and they realise with a shock that he must be part of the lucrative Scarper gang with his yacht used to pick up the escapees and ferry them to a safe haven - Slade is probably currently secretly on board pending transportation to Wheeler's next destination. It becomes obvious that Mackintosh must have suspected his friend of being corrupt and deliberately broken security to prove it - although Mackintosh clearly didn't reckon on being targeted himself.

Rearden and Mrs Smith follow Sir George to Malta where he is supposedly reviewing the British troops and holding a gala party on his yacht. Rearden tries to convince the local Maltese police to search Sir George's boat for the convict, but Sir George is such a well-respected, regular visitor to these parts that the police laugh off the crazy allegations.

Mrs Smith joins the party and goes aboard the yacht herself to try to confirm Slade is present - but she is captured by Sir George who still believes he can contain the situation if he disposes of her and Rearden. Then word comes through that Mackintosh has died and Sir George knows that the incriminating letter will be released and there is no way back for him other than into prison. So he will have to avail himself of his own escape route to a foreign clime.

Rearden comes to rescue Mrs Smith and there is a standoff with Sir George holding Mrs Smith hostage. Sir George negotiates with Rearden that he will release Mrs Smith if he and Slade are allowed to leave. Rearden agrees and is a man of his word. But as soon as Mrs Smith is free she picks up a gun and cold-bloodedly shoots Sir George and Slade dead as they are leaving as avengement for the death of her father.
Starring: Paul Newman (as Joseph Rearden, Intelligence officer), Dominique Sanda (as Mrs Smith, Mackintosh's secretary and daughter), James Mason (as Sir George Wheeler, opposition MP), Harry Andrews (as Mackintosh), Ian Bannen (as Ronald Slade, prisoner), Michael Hordern (as Brown, Scarper Gang leader), Jenny Runacre (as Gerda, Scarper Gang)
Featuring: Nigel Patrick (as Soames-Trevelyan, prisoner), Peter Vaughan (as Brunskill, detective inspector), Roland Culver (as Judge), Percy Herbert (as Taafe, mute Scarper Gang orderly), John Bindon (as Buster, prisoner), Hugh Manning (as Prosecutor), Wolfe Morris (as Malta Police Commissioner), Noel Purcell (as O'Donovan, publican)
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Desmond Bagley


Made (1972) Previous
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Writer: Howard Barker / Director: John Mackenzie / Producer: Joseph Janni
Type: Drama Running Time: 100 mins
Valerie Marshall is an unmarried single mother with a young baby. She lives in a flat with her mother who is housebound with multiple sclerosis and increasingly dependent on Valerie. Valerie also holds down a job as a telephone exchange operator where she works with her friend June. Valerie takes her responsibilities seriously but has little joy in her life.

A newly appointed parish priest called Father Dyson with a proactive approach to his pastoral duties pays her a visit to see how she and her mother are coping. He offers to arrange some care help for Mrs Marshall and to give Valerie a break he invites her to accompany him as a supervisor on an organised trip of the church youth club to Brighton.

Valerie and baby Scott have their day out in Brighton and while walking around she sees a outdoor event where a pop star is being interviewed for a radio show. His name is Mike Preston a hippy singer known for some outspoken views on society and his disbelief in any kind of god. She finds herself in agreement with some of the things he says. Later on while she is sitting on the beach Mike happens to be walking by and they get talking and find they have an empathy on their viewpoints on relationships - she is touched by his caring nature and he remarks on her love for her little baby saying she should be happy because the baby's happiness depends on hers. They go back to his hotel room and sleep together and she feels she has found in him a kindred emotional spirit. But Mike's busy promotional tour means has to move on and she returns home to her dull life.

Once she gets home she finds her mother has taken a turn for the worse and has been taken to hospital. Valerie feels trapped by her circumstances and her mother makes her feel guilty for trying to have a life of her own and not being there for her.

During this period of hospitalisation tragedy strikes when Valerie's friend June is caught up in a football supporter's riot while looking after Valerie's baby whilst she is at the hospital - the rioters accidentally tip baby Scott's pram and he is killed. Valerie tries to carry on with her traumatised life and sometime soon after Mike the pop star comes back into her life when he is nearby on a local leg of his tour. His compassionate and sympathetic nature is comforting for her. She gets a call from the reverend to come to the hospital to be with her mother but she delays going to be with Mike for longer as she knows her mother always seems to be at death's door and pulls through. But this time her mother does die while she was having fun with Mike and she feels terrible.

Mike soon has to go away again and she has no idea if he will ever come into her life again. She now has no one to care for and responsible to no one but herself but seems unable to snap out of her reverie and change her humdrum life in any way. Some time later she is doing some ironing and the new song by Mike Preston is played. It is called "The Social Casualty" and as the lyrics progress they touch a sad melancholy chord with her and then the chorus mentions her by name with sentiments like "Valerie's future left her behind" and lines about a baby's tragic death and death of a mother and she realises the song is about her - he has totally captured the sadness and desperation of her life and she breaks down into floods of tears. As the film end we leave her contemplating the lyrics.
Starring: Carol White (as Valerie Marshall), Roy Harper (as Mike Preston), John Castle (as Father Dyson)
Featuring: Margery Mason (as Mrs Marshall, Valerie's mother), Doremy Vernon (as June, Valerie's friend)
Star-Turns: Bob Harris (as a radio interviewer)
NOTES:

Songs composed and performed by Roy Harper.


Madhouse (1974) Previous
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Writer: Greg Morrison, Ken Levison / Director: Jim Clark / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky
Type: Horror Running Time: 87 mins
Some years ago in Hollywood successful horror actor Paul Toombes, famed for his role as screen character Dr Death, is hosting a New Year's Eve party where he premieres the latest instalment in his long-running film series. Also attending is an actor turned writer called Herbert Flay who created the Dr Death character. Paul also takes the opportunity to announce his engagement to glamorous starlet Ellen. He is at the height of his success and a very happy man until a sleazy film producer unkindly informs him that Ellen was once a star of his arthouse adult films which left nothing to the imagination. Paul is furious at hearing this and Ellen runs upstairs upset. Later after Paul awakens from a nap he goes to apologise to Ellen and finds her dead in a gruesome manner. Paul suffers a breakdown and is treated in a mental hospital because he doesn't know if he did the murder subconsciously in the guise of Dr Death or not. (We saw that she was attacked by a man in a Dr Death mask and outfit but not who was wearing it). Paul doesn't work again and the studio decide to end the Dr Death series rather than recast the part.

Twelve years later in the present day (1974) Paul comes to England. Writer Herbert Flay is working with a TV producer who wants to revive Dr Death for the small screen and Herbert has persuaded Paul to recreate his part. Paul was reluctant but has agreed to do it for his friend. But as events unfold Paul appears not to be fully recovered as he suffers from blackout moments and deaths begin to occur all involving methods that were used in the old Dr Death films. Paul becomes increasingly concerned that he has developed a split personality and is carrying out murders as Dr Death in his sleep.

But finally he realises the truth and fakes his own death which activates a clause in Herbert's contract that says if Paul was to die or be otherwise unable to continue then he would take over the role of Dr Death. The still-alive Paul confronts Herbert who confesses that he did the killings. Back in Hollywood he originally created Dr Death to play the character himself but the studio had wanted Paul to play him. Herbert had killed Ellen to create a scandal in the hope that the studio would recast the part - but instead they cancelled the series. Now here was another opportunity to play his beloved character for himself by having the exceptional clause inserted in his contract and then getting Paul out of the picture with a series of mysterious murders where he would be suspected - or suspect himself and be unable to continue.

The two men fight and Herbert dies in a fall. Since Paul Toombes is believed by the world to now be dead he uses make-up skills to disguise himself as Herbert and then continues to live as the other man.
Starring: Vincent Price (as Paul Toombes), Peter Cushing (as Herbert Flay)
Featuring: Robert Quarry (as Oliver Quayle, Film and TV Producer), Adrienne Corri (as Faye, actress and Herbert's wife), Natasha Pyne (as Julia Wilson, Producer's assistant), Linda Hayden (as Elizabeth Peters, young aspiring actress), Jenny Lee Wright (as Carol Clayton, actress on Dr Death TV show), John Garrie (as Harper, CID Inspector), Ian Thompson (as Bradshaw, CID officer), Julie Crosthwait (as Ellen, Paul's fiancee), Catherine Willmer (as Elizabeth's mother, Ellis Dayle (as Elizabeth's father)
Star-Turns: Michael Parkinson (as TV Interviewer)
NOTES:

Based on the novel Devilday by Angus Hall


The Magic Christian (1969) Previous
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Writers: Terry Southern, Joseph McGrath / Director: Joseph McGrath / Producer: Denis O'Dell
Type: Comedy Running Time: 87 mins
Sir Guy Grand is an immensely wealthy businessman with a multitude of companies to his name but neither he nor his two sisters have managed to produce any offspring and so Sir Guy decides to do something about it. He goes out into the park one day and meets a down-and-out called Youngman whom he adopts as his legal heir. He then sets about showing Youngman around his business empire.

Sir Guy is a bit of an eccentric character but insists that all his employees are at the top of their game and is not averse to dishing out wholesale sackings when he sees lack of excellence or evidence of quackery amongst his executives. Sir Guy has an objective of exposing greed in others and as he takes Youngman around he shows how easily people can be swayed into unbecoming acts by offers of money.

An advert in a newspaper announces the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise liner called The Magic Christian and invites applications for passengers. Only the very rich can afford the ticket price and it becomes the social must-do of the season. Sir Guy and Youngman are on board along with a motley collection of rich society braggarts keen to show off to their less fortunate friends. The ship is the last word in luxury and it sets sale from London docks bound for New York. It is so luxurious that the whole ship is an enclosed environment with no deck to walk around on. A few days into the voyage an urgent emergency alarm sounds and the captain's voice declares that the The Magic Christian has proven to be unseaworthy and they must abandon ship. Sir Guy and his party remain unconcerned but the rest of the passengers go into extreme panic unable to find their way out onto deck - but when they eventually do get out they find they are in a warehouse size hanger still on London docks and were never at sea at all - victims of another of Sir Guy's little games designed to mock the greedy.

Finally Sir Guy announces he is giving away free money. He fills a vat full of a putrefying concoction of animal blood, urine and manure and then throws wads of cash into the middle - and sure enough despite the unholy stink and danger to health there are no end of greedy businessmen willing to jump in and get it.

Sir Guy decides there must be a simpler way to live and joins his adopted son Youngman in the park sleeping rough (although he still has to bribe the park-keeper to relax regulations and not try to move them on).
Starring: Peter Sellers (as Sir Guy Grand), Ringo Starr (as Youngman Grand), Isabel Jeans (as Dame Agnes Grand, sister), Caroline Blakiston (as Esther Grand, sister)
Featuring: Wilfrid Hyde-White (as Captain of the Magic Christian), Laurence Harvey (as Stripping Hamlet), Hattie Jacques (as Ginger Horton, friend of Sir Guy)
Familiar Faces: (in small or cameo roles) Richard Attenborough (as Oxford boat crew coach), Christopher Lee (as Ship's vampire), Spike Milligan (as Traffic warden), Roman Polanski (as Man at bar), Raquel Welch (as Priestess of the Whip), Terence Alexander (as Ship passenger), Patrick Cargill (as Sotherby's Auctioneer), John Cleese (as Sotheby's Art Expert), David Lodge (as Ship's guide), Dennis Price (as Business Executive), Graham Stark (as Waiter), Yul Brynner (as Female impersonator), Graham Chapman (as Oxford boat crew member), John Le Mesurier (as Boat Race spectator), Edward Sinclair (as Park attendant), Frank Thornton (as Police Inspector), Rita Webb (as Woman In Park)
Starlets: (all uncredited) Maria Frost (Slave Girl), Birthe Sector (Slave girl), Sheila Sands (Psychedelic Train incident girl)
Also: (as Themselves) Michael Aspel, Michael Barratt, Harry Carpenter, John Snagge, Alan Whicker (TV commentators and presenters)
NOTES:

Based on a novel by Terry Southern. Additional material by Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Peter Sellers.


The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971) Previous
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Writer: (various) / Director/Producer: Graham Stark
Type: Comedy / Anthology Running Time: 102 mins
An animated director introduces and links a series of comedy sketches that he has made all of which follow the themes of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Avarice    (by: John Esmonde and Bob Larbey)     13 mins
Starring: Bruce Forsyth (as Clayton)
Clayton the chauffeur works for a mean, penny pinching boss. When Clayton spots a dropped 50p on the street his boss insists it is his and when Clayton accidentally drops it down a drain he makes Clayton go down into the sewers to find it.

Envy    (by: Dave Freeman)     13 mins
Starring: Harry Secombe (as Stanley)
The wife of a newly rich football pools winner Stanley fancies buying a house she likes the look of. But it is not up for sale so she tells Stanley to go and make the owners an offer but they are not selling at any price. So Stanley dresses up in various disguises inventing all sorts of reasons why they should move but all his efforts are in vain. Until eventually Stanley gets a mock newspaper printed saying a motorway is being built through their house - and this persuades the owners to eagerly sell their idyllic property. But on the day Stanley and his wife move in the bulldozers arrive and the motorway story turns out to be true.

Gluttony    (by: Graham Chapman and Barry Cryer)     17 mins
Starring: Leslie Phillips (as Dickie Clements), Julie Ege (as Ingrid Fenton)
Dickie Clements is the advertising manager of a slimming products company that likes its staff to use its products and appear slim and healthy. Dickie makes a show of eating only slimming biscuits but in fact has a veritable feast of snacks secreted away in his office. He overdoes it and the company doctor puts him on a strict diet of two slimming biscuits a day. So when he is invited round to his managing director Ingrid Fenton's house for dinner (and probably a bit of the other too if he's lucky!) he is not officially able to sample her sumptuous meal - but manages to sneak most of it while she is out of the room. He collapses with heartburn and the company doctor arrives and all the goodies get taken by him whilst Dickie is laid up in bed.

Lust    (by: Graham Stark, from a story by Marty Feldman)     16 mins
Starring: Harry H. Corbett (as Ambrose Twombly)
Ambrose is fed up with having no success with women and is making a concerted effort to go out this evening and pull. He decides to go to a train station and chat up any girl who gets stood up. The one he least fancies remains but he decides he can't be choosy so when she goes to a phone-booth to make a call he gets into the one beside her and phones her booth pretending to be a wrong number. They get chatting and with his foreknowledge of things he can see about her he is able to dazzle her with some inspired guesses. She is impressed enough to agree to meet up with him - only one problem she says:- she first has to get rid off this repulsive man in the next booth who keeps looking at her!

Pride    (by: Alan Simpson and Ray Galton)     15 mins
Starring: Ian Carmichael (as Mr Ferris), Alfie Bass (as Mr Spencer)
Two cars are travelling in opposite directions down a narrow country lane with no room to pass alongside each other. Ferris and Spencer come from different ends of the class spectrum with cars to match and reach a stubborn impasse on who has the right of way. Eventually a policeman settles it for them with a toss of a coin and lower-class Spencer is chosen to reverse. Pleased with his victory Ferris asks the policeman for directions to his destination and finds he has taken a wrong turn and needs to reverse his car anyway.

Sloth    (by: Spike Milligan)     9 mins
Starring: Spike Milligan (as a Tramp)
A series of mini-incidents in which people are too lazy to do anything for themselves and wait for someone else to do it for them instead.

Wrath    (by: Barry Cryer and Graham Chapman)     13 mins
Starring: Ronald Fraser (as George), Stephen Lewis (as Jarvis)
Retired army captain George is a regular user of his local park with his friend Kenneth but they are hounded by the park keeper Jarvis who enforces all the park's rules to petty extremes. So they scheme to kill him but all their elaborate efforts come to nought as Jarvis manages, through continued unknowing good fortune, to avoid all the pitfalls prepared for him. Eventually George and Kenneth mine the gents lavatory and lure Jarvis inside - but they get killed in the blast themselves. Now sitting in Heaven they feel at last free of petty rules until also-dead Jarvis turns up still enforcing the rules in the new place and reveals it is in fact Hell.
Starring: (see above)
Featuring: (Avarice) Paul Whitsun-Jones, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims , Roy Hudd
(Envy) Geoffrey Bayldon, June Whitfield, Carmel Cryan
(Gluttony) Patrick Newell
(Lust) Cheryl Kennedy, Bill Pertwee
(Pride) Audrey Nicholson, Sheila Bernette, Robert Gillespie, Keith Smith, Ivor Dean
(Sloth) Melvyn Hayes, Ronnie Brody, Ronnie Barker, Peter Butterworth, Marty Feldman, Davy Kaye, David Lodge, Cardew Robinson, Madeline Smith, Graham Stark (all cameo parts)
(Wrath) Arthur Howard
Starlets: Felicity Devonshire (introductory sequence)
(Avarice) Julie Samuel, Cheryl Hall, Suzanne Heath
(Gluttony) Rosemarie Reed, Sarah Golding, Tina McDowell
(Lust) Anouska Hempel, Nicole Yerna, Sue Bond, Yvonne Paul


The Magnificent Two (1967) Previous
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Writers: S.C. Green, R.M. Hills, Michael Pertwee, Peter Blackmore / Director: Cliff Owen / Producer: Hugh Stewart
Type: Comedy Running Time: 91 mins
Eric and Ernie are two travelling salesmen who specialise in toy soldiers. They are on their way by train to the small town of Camp Grande in the South American state of Parazvellia where they hope to try their luck selling their merchandise. Unbeknown to them also on the train is a revolutionary hero of Parazvellia called Fernando Torres returning home after a long absence in England to help free his country from the current president's corruption. Torres' mode of dress and general appearance are flukishly similar to Eric's. Government forces learn that Torres is trying to return and start searching the train and whilst trying to evade them Torres falls from the train to his death.

When Eric and Ernie arrive in Camp Grande the revolutionary bandit waiting for Torres assumes that Eric is their man and is a bit puzzled by his strange behaviour and his unexpected companion. Eric and Ernie are equally puzzled why a complete stranger keeps saying the word "Torres" to them and assume it must be a local form of greeting. Eric and Ernie soon find themselves in the middle of a firefight between police and bandits and when it is over the police arrest the hapless pair on suspicion of being possible rebel collaborators.

Meanwhile the Red Star Rebel's military commander, Carillo, and his deputy, General Carla Marin, discover Torres' dead body by the railway tracks. This is a devastating blow to their movement because Torres was the son of a former great president and was therefore an inspirational figure whose return was going to signal the birth of a new era. But then they receive a bizarre report from their man at the railway station that Torres has been arrested by the police. It seems clear that the arrested man is a dead ringer for the real Torres and Carillo figures that he may be of use to them.

So Carillo organises a raid on the police station and liberates Eric and Ernie. Only Carillo and Carla know the truth and they allow everyone else to think Eric is the real Torres home at last. Carillo offers Eric a large fee for impersonating Torres and performing certain presidential duties once they have taken over. Eric thinks it all sounds a bit dangerous and is ready to decline until he meets the gorgeous Carla and suddenly he is all keen to do it to impress her. Eric and Ernie are both wowed by the women in the revolutionary camp who share all facilities with the men including the showers. Carla is the commander of the women's army and does not see why the women should get any special treatment because they are all in the struggle for freedom together.

The rebels launch their surprise attack on the city and take over. President Diaz goes into hiding and his location is unknown. His three young children are captured by the rebels but they refuse to say where their father has gone.

In his role as the new "president", Eric is asked to make a live television broadcast announcing the intentions of the new republic and Carillo supplies an autocue with the exact script he must follow. But during the broadcast the autocue fails and in panic Eric begins improvising and makes generous pledges that delight the citizens but flabbergast Carillo and his cabinet. The rash promises made by "Torres" cannot be afforded and would bankrupt the country and Carillo realises that Eric has become a liability and it would be best if he were disposed of. But Carillo knows Carla is fond of Eric and he still needs the support of her and the forces she commands, so he devises a convoluted plan to trick them both.

Thusly Carillo persuades Carla to seduce Eric into agreeing to help stage his own fake assassination at a public event. Carla tells Eric that once "dead" he will be secretly smuggled away and can return home with his promised fee. Eric agrees to go along with it because it is Carla asking him. He is told the assassin's bullet will be a blank and Eric should fall to the ground and play possum when he hears the noise. But what Carillo has not told Carla is that the bullet will actually be deadly real.

Eric is formally dressed by Juan who was once dresser to Torres' father and he outfits Eric in the same formal attire that the great President always wore in public. Eric attend the public event and when the shot comes Eric goes down hard from the impact of a real bullet. He is pronounced dead by a stooge doctor as planned but it seems to his puzzled friends that he is not faking it when he cannot later be roused. Carla realises that Carillo tricked her and knows that he has become dangerous and they have replaced corruption with tyranny. Ernie privately mourns his friend's death until he discovers that Eric is not dead after all because Juan had dressed him in a bulletproof vest as he always routinely did for Torres' father. Instead the impact had merely knocked Eric out cold for a time.

Carla helps Eric and Ernie get away from the presidential palace and asks them to take with them the ex-President Diaz's children who are themselves due to be executed. But their car breaks down on the way and the children decide to lead them to a place of safety. It is an old army museum in the country where their father is secretly hiding with a small number of his trusted men. But Carillo is able to track them and sends his forces in pursuit triumphant that soon he will be able to capture the ex-president too.

Ernie puts to good use the tactics he has picked up playing toy soldiers and organises a defence using the old museum equipment. This holds Carillo's forces off for a while but they eventually storm the museum and take everyone prisoner. Meanwhile Carla has been alerted that the president's children are in danger and sends her women's forces to engage Carillo's men. The men are more heavily armed and in a better defensive position and Carillo scoffs at Carla's defiance knowing his men can mow Carla's forces down with ease. But Carla knows this too and decides to employ a highly atypical tactic. She orders all her women to strip off and march upon the museum dressed only in their skimpy underwear. The male soldiers whoop and holler as they ogle the fantastic display of female flesh and refuse to shoot at sexy half-naked women despite Carillo's increasingly frenzied orders that they do so.

By exploiting this male weakness Carla's women quickly take over and arrest Carillo and save Eric, Ernie and the children. Carla is installed as the new president and vows to her people that she will oversee a new age of peace and justice for all - most especially for women in the newly-named Women's' Republic of Parazvellia. Eric and Ernie decide to stick around and join the women's army knowing when they are on to a good thing!
Starring: Eric Morecambe (as Eric), Ernie Wise (as Ernie), Margit Saad (as General Carla Marin, rebel commander of the Women's forces), Virgilio Texera (as Carillo, rebel military commander)
Featuring: Martin Benson (as President Diaz), Sandor Eles (as Armandez, President Diaz's aide), Isobel Black (as Juanita, Carla's second-in-command), Sue Sylvaine (as President Diaz's teenage daughter), Henry Beltran and Tyler Butterworth (as President Diaz's two young sons), Cecil Parker (as Sir John Rutlish, British Ambassador at banquet), Michael Godfrey (as Manuelo, Carillo's officer), Andrea Malandrinos (as Juan, old-timer at rebel camp), David Charlesworth (as Fernando Torres, revolutionary hero whom Eric resembles)
NOTES:

This film was the last of three that Morecambe and Wise made in the 1960s. They were 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. The first two films were The Intelligence Men (1965) and That Riviera Touch (1966).


The Magus (1968) Previous
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Writer: John Fowles (from his own novel) / Director: Guy Green / Producers: John Kohn, Jud Kinberg
Type: Drama Running Time: 116 mins
Nicholas Urfe is a teacher who has come to the Greek island of Phraxos to take up a teaching post at a small local school. He has just ended a relationship with a French air stewardess called Anne because she wanted a greater commitment than he could bring himself to offer. He is escaping from the responsibilities he does not feel ready to assume in an effort to try and rediscover himself.

Whilst out walking in the woodlands Nicholas comes across a villa that at first seems deserted but then he is greeted by the white-haired owner who introduces himself as Maurice Conchis and tells Nicholas he has been expecting him. Conchis claims to be a psychic and everything about him is mysterious. He invites Nicholas to stay the following weekend and Nicholas is intrigued enough to agree.

Before his return to the villa Nicholas does some research on Conchis only to discover that the man is listed as having died in 1944. When Nicholas quizzes Conchis about this he only gets vague answers. Conchis tells Nicholas about his first sweetheart called Lily who died during the First World War while working as a nurse. Soon after that Nicholas begins to see a mysterious woman whom Conchis tells him is Lily's ghost keeping an eye on him although Nicholas finds this claim far-fetched.

Nicholas soon discovers that in this villa things are never as they appear and Conchis' ghostly tales were just a small deception for some harmless amusement. Conchis now reveals he is in fact a psychiatrist and "Lily" is his patient whose real name is Julie and the playacting is part of her treatment.

However when Nicholas speaks to Julie alone she tells him an entirely different story. She is an actress who was hired by Conchis to be in a movie which would be made in a unique way with all the cameras hidden whilst she improvised her way through a loose storyline. Nicholas finds himself attracted to Julie and wants to see more of her. When Nicholas asks Conchis to tell him the real truth about what is going on the older man tells him that Julie's actress story is one of the many delusions for which she is receiving treatment.

Conchis tells Nicholas about a key incident in his life when his island was occupied by a Nazi garrison during the Second World War and Conchis found himself being appointed as town mayor. When some partisans killed a group of German soldiers the garrison commandant rounded up eighty local Greeks to kill in retribution even though the culprits were caught. Conchis was forced to help interrogate the partisans in an attempt to save his innocent brethren. But it was to no avail and the eighty men were killed anyway and Conchis was branded a German collaborator. This incident shaped Conchis and was the reason he had to fake his death and start anew all those years ago.

Eventually Nicholas is forcefully drugged by Conchis and finds himself in a kind of courtroom where he discovers that everything that has been happening to him and all the people he has met on the island are actors playing a role. Conchis is a millionaire and for the amusement of himself and his friends they regularly put on real-life dramas in which there is one central player who does not know the truth of what is going on. There is no set plot or dialogue and no audience except the performers for whose benefit it is undertaken. Nicholas is irked at being an unpaid puppet and refuses to cooperate any further.

Nicholas wakes up in a hospital bed with Conchis by his side. Nicholas asks for how long his life has been manipulated like this - but as ever he gets no proper reply from the enigmatic man. Conchis departs and when Nicholas leaves the room he finds he is not in a hospital at all but on an unfinished set. He is still on the island where he sees his ex-girlfriend Anne. Was she in on it too - does it all go back to before he met her? He gets no further answers because the villa is now deserted with all the fixtures and fittings removed leaving just an empty shell.
Starring: Michael Caine (as Nicholas Urfe), Anthony Quinn (as Maurice Conchis, villa owner), Candice Bergen (as Lily/Julie, mysterious woman), Anna Karina (as Anne, Nicholas' girlfriend), Corin Redgrave (as Captain Wilhelm Wimmel, garrison commandant)
Featuring: Paul Stassino (as Meli, local teacher), Julian Glover (as Anton, Conchis' collaborator), Takis Emmanuel (as Kapetan, partisan), George Pastell (as Andreas, Conchis manservant), Danièle Noël (as Dr Soula, Conchis' student), Ethel Farrugia (as Maria, Conchis' housekeeper), Andreas Malandrinos (as Old Goatherd)
Familiar Faces: Roger Lloyd-Pack (as Young Conchis, [in flashback])
NOTES:

Magus is a word for a magician


Mahler (1974) Previous
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Writer/Director: Ken Russell / Producer: Roy Baird
Type: Drama Running Time: 111 mins
It is 1911 and celebrated Austrian conductor and composer Gustav Mahler is heading home on a train with his wife Alma. He is in his early 50s but in poor health and during the journey he reflects on various stages of his life.

As a boy Gustav had a gift for music but his Jewish family were poor and tuition was expensive. However his ambitious parents viewed the outlay as an investment because they knew that established concert pianists were able to command vast fees and Gustav would be their meal ticket to a more abundant lifestyle. However this family pressure caused young Gustav much anxiety because he knew he would never be a great musician and his talents lay in the less well-regarded field of composing. He felt an affinity with nature which he was able to channel into musical notations.

Mahler becomes a man and ekes out a living as a conductor while continuing to compose in his spare time. He marries Alma and has two daughters. Alma has musical ambitions of her own but Gustav offers her no encouragement for he knows what a thankless endeavour it is to strive to have ones work recognised. Some aspiring composers are sent mad by the frustration of trying to attain eminence and others simply kill themselves - Gustav has first-hand experience of both these tragic events in the persons of a college friend called Hugo Wolfe and his own brother Otto Mahler.

Gustav applies to become director of the Vienna State Opera but he needs the approval of Cosima Wagner, widow of the great German composer Richard Wagner. Cosima is a vehement anti-Semite and so because religion is not a big deal for Gustav he converts faiths to become a catholic and subsequently wins the appointment.

His wife Alma feels so stifled with her inability to have her compositions assessed by her husband that their relationship breaks down and she has an affair with a handsome young soldier called Max.

Back on the train in the present, Gustav tells Alma she must decide between himself and Max. Alma expresses her belief that Gustav has never really loved her but just finds her useful as an assistant. Gustav tells her she is wrong and it is she who inspires him and the very essence of her is embedded within all the music he writes. With this revelation Alma chooses to stay with Gustav and they seem on the verge of a new happy stage of their lives.

However when they get home Gustav's doctor has some bad news - the results of a recent medical have revealed he has a terminal throat condition and only has a few weeks left to live.
Starring: Robert Powell (as Gustav Mahler), Georgina Hale (as Alma Mahler, Gustav's wife)
Featuring: (Young Gustav's scenes) Gary Rich (as Young Gustav), Lee Montague (as Bernhard Mahler, father), Rosalie Crutchley (as Marie Mahler, mother), Miriam Karlin (as Aunt Rosa), Ronald Pickup (as Nick, hermit)
(Also) David Collings (as Hugo Wolfe, Gustav's college friend in asylum), Richard Morant (as Max, Alma's lover), Angela Down (as Justine Mahler, Gustav's sister), Peter Eyre (as Otto Mahler, Gustav's brother), Dana Gillespie (as Anna von Mildenburg, singer that Mahler tutors), Antonia Ellis (as Cosima Wagner, widow of Richard Wagner), Elaine Delmar (as Princess, train passenger), Ken Colley (as Siegfried Krenek, journalist)
NOTES:

The year is not specified but is assumed to be 1911 because that was the year of Mahler's death which at the end of the film was considered to be imminent.


The Maids (1974) Previous
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Writers: Robert Enders, Christopher Miles / Director: Christopher Miles / Producer: Robert Enders
Type: Drama Running Time: 94 mins
Set in a France of the recent past. Solange and Claire Le Mercier are sisters who work as maidservants to a rich and glamorous middle-aged woman referred to only as Madame. The two sisters are resentful of the luxurious lifestyle of their mistress and hold a secret yearning to live in her accustomed manner without a care in the world and escape the drudgery they despise. Whenever Madame is present they are dutiful and courteous, mindful of their subservient positions. However when Madame is out for the evening Solange and Claire tangibly act out their bitterness with one of them dressing in Madame's finest attire and playacting an exaggerated interpretation of a haughtily eccentric mistress, whilst the other behaves insolently towards her in the manner they would wish to in real life. These scenarios always conclude with the maid gaining natural justice by "murdering" the mistress.

Recently however their joint resentment has boiled up to a point where they are actively considering punitive action against their subjugator. Madame has a younger lover (known only as Monsieur) and to take a delicious revenge on Madame, Claire has written an anonymous letter of denunciation regarding Monsieur's conduct which she has sent to the police. This has resulted in the police taking Monsieur away in handcuffs in an early morning raid. The sisters are gleeful of the distress this causes Madame and believe anything that sullies her perfect world is justified. While Madame is out trying to have her lover freed, the sisters play their wish fulfilment "game" yet again. But this time they decide that they should take their reprisals a stage further and later will poison Madame's tea.

Madame returns full of woe at the terrible situation into which her lover has been cast and she wonders who could have written such a horrible letter. We discover that the sisters' hatred of their mistress is staggeringly unjustified. Madame treats her two maids with kindness and thinks of them as part of the family like the daughters she never had. They are both generously allowed the pick of Madame's discarded clothing and are allowed dispensations unthinkable in other households. Madame is so agitated by the current state of affairs that she leaves her poisoned tea undrunk. When Madame learns that Monsieur has been released on bail she heads off out again to be with him.

The sisters are severely downcast that their efforts to kill Madame failed but their hatred of her remains along with the immeasurable shame they feel at being so lowly in status. Morose overwhelms them and Claire wants to play the "game" again straight away. Claire adopts the role of Madame and Solange the murderous maid. Solange becomes so immersed in her deliverance of justice that once she starts strangling Claire she does not stop until she believes she has really killed her. Solange's reason has deserted her and reality and fantasy merge. She soliloquises her exalted triumph at Madame's death and considers how she will become legendary and she will be rewarded with the riches and power she craves for her infamous act of defiance.

But Claire is not dead and hears her raving sister's fantastical self-aggrandising notions effecting from her imagined death, that Claire decides to administer herself with the poison from the abandoned tea. Claire lays down into a deep sleep and dies and Solange feels joyfully free ensnared in her belief that it is Madame who is dead. Solange celebrates her freedom on the second floor balcony ledge raising her arms in surrender to the fates - and as the film ends we are unsure whether or not she has hurled herself to her own death.
Comment: The story is set in a modern looking world but how close to the present day of 1974 it was meant to be is not certain. The play was written in 1948.
Starring: Glenda Jackson (as Solange Le Mercier), Susannah York (as Claire Le Mercier), Vivien Merchant (as Madame)
Featuring: Mark Burns (as Monsieur)
NOTES:

Based on the play by Jean Genet

English Translation by Minos Volanakis who also directed the stage version of the play at the Greenwich Theatre in England


The Main Attraction (1962) Previous
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Writer/Producer: John Patrick / Director: Daniel Petrie
Type: Drama Running Time: 84 mins
Eddie is an American drifter who is wandering Europe on his way to nowhere in particular. He has a talent for singing and along the way he takes jobs in bars and restaurants performing for the customers. He is a bit of a hot-head and usually ends up getting the sack and being forced to move on.

Currently Eddie is working in an Italian restaurant and gets into a fight with a boisterous customer. The owner fires him but a patron called Gina takes a shine to his looks and his talent and offers him a job with the circus she works at. Gina is in her forties and has a hankering for younger men who can make her feel as if she still young and vital. Part of the arrangement is that Eddie will share her trailer and her bed and in return he will get paid work at the circus helping her in her ventriloquism act as a dashing minstrel that her cheeky manikin "Godiva" takes a liking to for the audience's entertainment.

Another circus act is the equestrian Moreno Trio who perform daring horse-riding stunts. The trio consist of husband and wife Ricco and Elenora Moreno and also Tessa who is Elenora's younger sister. Tessa is young and pretty and takes quite a shine to Eddie who likes her in return. However Gina is very possessive and dislikes Eddie being around the younger woman. Ricco too is not keen on Tessa finding romance because he secretly fancies her himself although his desire is not reciprocated by Tessa who is respectful of her sister.

Gina's jealousy eventually gets out of hand and she wields a knife which Eddie wrestles from her grasp - but Gina's ex-husband Bozo the clown is nearby and hears the commotion and jumps to the wrong conclusion that Eddie is attacking Gina (whom he still adores). The two men fight and Bozo ends up being stabbed in the stomach and falls down seemingly dead. Eddie knows he cannot stick around because no one will believe it was an accident and he quickly departs town on the next bus to escape whatever justice might be forthcoming. He is surprised to find Tessa on the same bus - she too is running away so that her presence will not ruin her sister's marriage.

The bus is heading for Innsbruck over a snowy mountain road. When they come to a police checkpoint Eddie assumes it is for him and gets off the bus and starts making his way on foot across country - Tessa decides to go with him. They walk for ages and eventually find an isolated log cabin in a snowy mountain pass. The cabin shows signs of recent habitation but seems to have been mysteriously abandoned so they make themselves comfortable for the night.

However what they do not know is that the real reason for the roadblock was to turn vehicles back because of the danger of an avalanche which this area is prone to at this time of the year. The next morning the army are due to be firing cannons into the mountains to force the accumulated snow to dislodge before it builds to dangerous levels and so the area has been evacuated as a precaution.

Eddie and Tessa spend a blissful night together falling in love and next morning set out early unaware of the army's plans. When the cannon's are fired they are almost caught by the tide of avalanching snow but just manage to find cover. Tessa decides to return to the circus after Elenora and Ricco persuade her that there is no need for her to run away. Eddie also decides he must return and face whatever punishment is in store for him for Bozo's death. Upon his return he finds he had been running for nothing because Bozo is not dead after all and is on the road to recovery from the knife wound. Eddie is ever so happy and rejoins the circus act and he and Tessa soon decide to get married.
Starring: Pat Boone (as Eddie), Nancy Kwan (as Tessa), Mai Zetterling (as Gina), Yvonne Mitchell (as Elenora Moreno), Kieron Moore (as Ricco Moreno)
Featuring: John Le Mesurier (as Bozo, clown, ex-husband of Gina)


Malpertuis (1971) Previous
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aka: The Legend of Doom House
Novel: Jean Ray / Writer: Jean Ferry / Director: Harry Kümel / Producers: Pierre Levie, Paul Laffargue
Type: Fantasy Drama Running Time: 99 mins
In a previous century in Holland a ship makes port and the sailors have a day of shore leave. For one handsome sailor called Jan it is his home port from which he has been away for many years. What Jan does not know is that he is being observed by a couple of shifty characters who seem very interested in his arrival. Jan travels to his home but finds it has gone, collapsed, and abandoned long ago. He knows not what has become of his family, especially his dear sister Nancy and looks desperately around town for her. He thinks he sees her go into a tavern and follows but it is someone else. He gets into a fight that one of the shifty men stage-managed and comes off the worse losing consciousness.

When he comes to he is in a bed and being looked after by Nancy. She tells him he has been brought to their Uncle Cassavius' home of Malpertuis where she now lives. Jan is horrified at this for he believes Malpertuis to be an evil place. It is a huge house full of labyrinthine corridors with locked doors and many unfathomable secrets. It is occupied by all manner of strange people - family and servants who all have a healthy fear of the head of the household Quentin Cassavius even though he is bedridden and close to death. They are just waiting for him to die so they can be free of this place.

Before his death Cassavius gathers his family and household servants around his bedside for his will to be read to them. He has gathered an extraordinary fortune and has generously bequeathed an equal share of it to each and every beneficiary. However he has a codicil - each beneficiary must from this moment on live at Malpertuis and never leave the grounds. They must stay until they die and the last remaining man and woman should marry and inherit everything. Cassavius hopes that will be Jan and his cousin Euryale.

After Cassavius has died Jan is determined to discover the house's secrets and embarks on a systematic search of all the rooms. He finds that Cassavius was a schooner captain and had been a keen scientific experimenter in the area of genetic engineering of strange new life forms looking to create some sort of perfect being - but always meeting with failure. Jan's quest is held up by a manipulative cousin called Alice who wants him to become her lover and she succeeds although his main interest is in the mysterious and enigmatic Euryale

Eventually as most of the rest of the household seem to be turning dangerously against Jan, Euryale decides it is time he learnt the real secret of Malpertuis. She and the others are the gods of Ancient Greece who, having been forgotten by the world, were living in solitude on an island of the Ionian sea waiting to die of neglect. But Cassavius had captured them and herded them like cattle in his ship to these shores and into this house. He saw the gods as the perfect specimens he was so keen to recreate in his experiments and his intention was to create a new master race of demi-gods. All the other gods are now dead because people no longer believe in them and only she, Euryale, remains immortal - or to give her her proper name The Gorgon. She looks directly into Jan's eyes and he turns to stone.

Epilogue. Jan is in the present day in a psychiatric hospital and the doctor has declared him fit to leave. During his stay he had written an incredible story fuelled by his deranged fertile imagination of the kidnapped Greek gods - and his story is what we have been watching. His wife Jane is waiting to take him home and she leads him down the brightly lit hospital corridor and through a door which leads into a dark corridor - he recognises it instantly as one of the gloomy corridors of Malpertuis, he turns to go back but all that is behind him now is a brick wall.
Starring: Orson Welles (as Quentin Cassavius), Susan Hampshire (as Nancy/Euryale/Alice and others), Mathieu Carrière (as Jan)
Featuring: Michel Bouquet (as Mr Dideloo), Dora van der Groen (as Mrs Dideloo, housekeeper), Jean-Pierre Cassel (as Lampernisse, raggedy man living under stairs), Daniel Pilon (as Mathias Crook, Nancy's lover), Walter Rilla (as Eigengott, a lawyer), Charles Janssens (as Philarette, rat loving servant)
Starlets: Sylvie Vartan (as Bets, prostitute at tavern)
NOTES:

This French/German/Belgium co-production is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Susan Hampshire. It is spoken in undubbed English.

Susan Hampshire plays five parts. Simultaneously in the household she is Nancy, Euryale and Alice. And later in the epilogue she is Jan's wife Jane and a passing nurse. The nudity she has as the characters Alice and Euryale are almost certain to have been a body double by the way it was filmed

The title is pronounced "MAL-PER-TWEE"


Man About the House (1974) Previous
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Writers: Johnnie Mortimer, Brian Cooke / Director: John Robins / Producer: Roy Skeggs
Type: Sitcom Spin-Off Running Time: 86 mins
Robin Tripp is a catering student who shares a flat in Myddleton Terrace, London, with two beautiful young girls called Chrissy and Jo. The arrangement is on a purely platonic basis but despite this Robin is always trying it on and being expertly deflected by the two girls. Chrissy is especially knowing and finds Robin's clumsy efforts at back-door seduction wryly amusing but she doesn't seem to mind his efforts as both the girls repeatedly get the better of Robin when they pretend they don't know what he's up to. Their landlords are George and Mildred Roper. Mildred is a romantic, however George cannot stand the thought of intimacy and they are forever bickering - but despite seeming ill-suited they somehow manage to stay together.

A property development company called Spiros announces plans for an office block redevelopment in their area and starts making offers for the six Edwardian properties in Myddleton Terrace. George is tempted by the money but Mildred puts her foot down and refuses to consider selling their lovely home so it can be knocked down for an ugly office block. She organises a residents' committee to block the proposal. However Spiros' smarmy Project Manager Morris Pluthero manages to persuade all the other neighbours to agree to sell. Chrissy and Jo start a petition and get a thousand signatures opposing the development. Chrissy takes it to her local MP Sir Edmund Weir who is also the president of the Preserve London Society. However Sir Edmund secretly owns one of the houses where he keeps a mistress and Pluthero has blackmailed him into agreeing to sell.

Pluthero learns that the Ropers property has upstairs leaseholders and because Chrissy is the lease signatory he tries to butter her up and offer inducements to get her to sell it. But she has no intention of doing so and with the help of some laxative laden food prepared by Robin they teach him a purgative lesson.

With mounting media pressure against office block redevelopments Pluthero's boss Mr Spiros puts pressure on him to acquire the final property or the prestigious project will have to be cancelled and Pluthero will be considered an unreliable failure. Spiros gives Pluthero a deadline of that evening or else he must go on television and capitulate to the mounting protest campaign in order to salvage a bit of positive publicity from the mess. Pluthero does not want to fail and so he waits until Mildred goes out and speaks to George alone with a final offer and paperwork ready to be signed. Mildred comes back and ejects Pluthero who reluctantly heads off to the television studios where he announces on a news programme that the redevelopment project is cancelled unaware that George has defied Mildred and followed him to the TV studios to try and give him the signed sale agreement.

With the project cancelled the street is saved and everyone gets back on with their normal lives.
Starring: Richard O'Sullivan (as Robin Tripp), Paula Wilcox (as Chrissy), Sally Thomsett (as Jo)
Brian Murphy (as George Roper), Yootha Joyce (as Mildred Roper)
Peter Cellier (as Morris Pluthero, Spiros Project Manager), Arthur Lowe (as Spiros, property development company boss)
Featuring: Doug Fisher (as Larry Simmonds, Robin's friend), Bill Maynard (as Restaurant Chef), Patrick Newell (as Sir Edmund Weir, local MP), Aimi MacDonald (as Hazel Lovett, next door neighbour), Andria Lawrence (as Miss Bird, flirty neighbour), Norman Mitchell (as TV Studios Doorman, turns out to be Arthur Mulgrove an ex-sweetheart of Mildred's), Michael Robbins (as Second TV Studios Doorman), Aubrey Morris (as Catering College Lecturer), Julian Orchard (as TV Show Producer)
Familiar Faces: Jack Smethurst and Rudolph Walker (as Themselves, [off-duty Love Thy Neighbour actors in TV Studio canteen), Spike Milligan (as Himself, at TV studios), Melvyn Hayes (as Nigel, resident, [cameo]), Bill Grundy (as Himself, [TV show presenter]), Johnnie Briggs (as Milkman, [cameo]), Bill Pertwee (as Postman, [cameo])
Starlets: Berry Cornish (as P.A. on TV Show), Pauline Peart (as Mr Spiros' Secretary, [non-speaking])
NOTES:

This film is a new story and begins with the familiar series setup already in place. It is based on the ITV sitcom that ran for 39 episodes over six series from 1973 to 1976. The Ropers had their own spin-off series called George and Mildred which ran for 38 episodes over five series from 1976 to 1979 and that series had its own feature film version George and Mildred (1980). The character of Robin Tripp was also spun off into his own series called Robin's Nest in which he opened a restaurant and that ran for 47 episodes over six series from 1977 to 1981.


Man at the Top (1973) Previous
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Writer: Hugh Whitemore (with John Junkin) / Director: Mike Vardy / Producers: Peter Charlesworth, Jock Jacobsen
Type: Drama Running Time: 88 mins
Self-assured Northern businessman Joe Lampton is pleased but surprised when he is offered the managing director's job at a pharmaceutical company. The previous incumbent, a man called Harish Taranath, had committed suicide although the head of the company, Lord Ackerman, claims to be mystified as to the reason. Taranath's role had been mainly on the research and development side of a new wonder drug called D50 for use in Africa to treat the symptoms of malnutrition. Joe's role is now to sell the product to the market.

Joe is a self-made man from humble beginnings. He is fair-minded but has a ruthless self-interest and high survival instinct. So being a wily sort he becomes suspicious and decides to look into why Taranath killed himself. He discovers that Taranath had wanted the D50 launch to be delayed for more tests which had been declined and Joe begins to suspect that someone is trying to land him in it and that his high-flying appointment was a set-up to provide a scapegoat if things went wrong with the new drug. Joe realises some important test result papers are missing from the files and sets off to confront Lord Ackerman at his country manor retreat.

Joe discovers the missing papers and finds that the drug had a side effect in a small number of women making them infertile. Lord Ackerman swears that the flaw has now been corrected and the drug is now safe but he can't afford a political upset from the self-righteous brigade if the news of the initial results were made public. Joe sees his opportunity to advance and threatens to release the information to the press unless Lord Ackerman makes him the chief executive of his entire group of companies. Ackerman agrees and Joe becomes the man at the top.
Comment: As well as the main business plot there are some interesting character development subplots as Joe has affairs with both Ackerman's wife and daughter and a jolly diversion when he picks up a couple of hitchhikers while travelling up north to Ackerman's estate and taking them home.
Starring: Kenneth Haigh (as Joe Lampton), Harry Andrews (as Lord Clive Ackerman), Nanette Newman (as Lady Alex Ackerman, wife)
Featuring: John Quentin (as David Digby, Ackerman's lawyer), Mary Maude (as Robin Ackerman, daughter), Margaret Heald (as Eileen, hitchhiker), Angela Bruce (as Joyce, hitchhiker), Charlie Williams (as George Harvey, Joyce's father), Clive Swift (as Massey, company executive)
Familiar Faces: John Conteh (the boxer, cameo role)
NOTES:

This film was a spin-off from a same-titled ITV drama series which ran for 23 episodes from 1970-72 also starring Kenneth Haigh as ambitious management consultant Joe Lampton. The TV series was in itself a sequel to the feature films Room at the Top (1959) and Life at the Top (1965) in which Joe Lampton was played by Laurence Harvey. It is not necessary to have seen any of those earlier stories to enjoy this one.

The nudity indicated above for Nanette Newman's character is almost certainly a body double.


A Man for All Seasons (1966) Previous
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Writer: Robert Bolt (from his own play) / Director/Producer: Fred Zinnemann
Type: Historical Drama Running Time: 115 mins
In the 1500s during the reign of King Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More lives a privileged life as a High Council judge after a career as a skilled lawyer. Sir Thomas is a deeply religious man whose fairness and incorruptibility are legendary. He is also a friend of the King.

King Henry is married to Catherine of Aragon who has borne him no sons to continue his line - she has only borne a daughter. Henry's frustration has brought him to the point where he has instructed his chancellor Cardinal Wolsey to find a way to end his current marriage so he can marry again. His marriage to Catherine, his late brother's widow, needed a special dispensation from the Pope and Wolsey knows the likelihood of the Pope now rescinding that exemption is nil. Wolsey goes through the motions to placate the King but knows he is not going get anywhere.

When Wolsey dies, the King appoints his friend Sir Thomas as his new chancellor believing that he will now have an ally in his endeavours who also possesses an intimate knowledge of the law. But Sir Thomas now finds himself in a terrible dilemma because he holds steadfast the complete authority of the Pope to rule on such matters. However he is wise enough to keep his opinions private for he knows how injudicious words can be used to condemn a man.

The King becomes impatient and forces a bill through parliament disconnecting England from Rome and making himself leader of the church in England. He proceeds to institute a full-scale reformation of religious practices and thus grants himself approval for a divorce from Catherine. Sir Thomas expresses no disapproval, but because he is such a publicly admired figure his failure to express approval is viewed as a damning indictment. Sir Thomas gives up his position of office and retires. He is careful to make no inflammatory statements to anyone - not even his wife or daughter in private.

Henry orders that an Oath of Allegiance be drawn up that must be signed by all men of importance to signify their approval of the King's new status and that they accept that only his new wife's children have right of succession. Sir Thomas declines to sign but makes it clear that no significance can be drawn from that refusal. His family urge him to sign and pretend he approves but his high principles won't allow him to lie because God would know. The King orders his new chancellor Thomas Cromwell to find a way to discredit More. Cromwell has Sir Thomas arrested and put into the dungeons where he stays for years. Every couple of months he is brought before a board to give him the chance to sign the oath. But each time he steadfastly refuses to sign or make any sort of statement giving his reasons. Sir Thomas's legal training enables him to avoid the various verbal ploys Cromwell uses to attempt to entice an opinion from him.

Eventually Cromwell is forced to resort to using the false testimony of a former friend of Sir Thomas who is willing to put his ambition before friendship and describe to the court a damning conversation he claims to have had with Sir Thomas concerning his disapproval of the King's actions.

This evidence although stringently denied by Sir Thomas is enough to condemn him. With his death now decreed Sir Thomas uses the opportunity to at last give voice to his opinion on the travesty that he thinks has befallen England's religious system because of the King's presumptions of authority over the Holy Church which he considers to be based on an act of parliament which is contrary to the law of God. His words are heard and then he is taken to the Tower of London and executed.
Starring: Paul Scofield (as Sir Thomas More), Leo McKern (as Thomas Cromwell, chancellor), Orson Welles (as Cardinal Wolsey), Wendy Hiller (as Alice More, Sir Thomas' wife), Susannah York (as Margaret More, Sir Thomas' daughter), Nigel Davenport (as The Duke of Norfolk), John Hurt (as Richard Rich, Cromwell's aide)
Featuring: Corin Redgrave (as William Roper, Margaret's husband), Colin Blakely (as Matthew, More's valet)
Familiar Faces: Yootha Joyce (as Averil Machin, poor woman), Vanessa Redgrave (as Anne Boleyn, [one scene cameo])
Star-Turns: Robert Shaw (as King Henry VIII, [one big-scene appearance])


Man of Violence (1971) Previous
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aka: The Sex Racketeers; Moon
Writers: Brian Comport, Pete Walker / Director/Producer: Pete Walker
Type: Thriller Running Time: 96 mins
Moon is an ex-crook working for hire as an investigator who gets embroiled in a feud between two gangland bosses Grayson and Bryant, who were once business partners. Grayson hires Moon to find out why Bryant has bought some useless run-down properties that no one else wanted. But Moon is working for both men who each want inside info on the other.

Moon teams up with a woman called Angel who was involved with the son of the deputy Prime Minister of a middle eastern country that was overthrown and she is now helping the deputy PM who is suspected of stealing his country's gold reserves worth millions of pounds. But Bryant was in league with the General who deposed the country's leader and is expecting half the gold to come to him as well as the lucrative oil concession. Moon tries to make sense of it all while possibly trying to get hold of the gold himself.

The plot gets ever more convoluted with secret code-books; a pop group's van being used to smuggle equipment; gunrunning; a MI5 man turning out to be a villain; and a henchman turning out to be an undercover special branch operative - and it doesn't end happily for either Moon or Angel.
Comment: It has an overcomplicated plot with so many separate interested parties that it is at times difficult to follow what everyone is trying to achieve - and with an unremarkable leading man it is not as good as it might have been.
Starring: Michael Latimer (as Moon), Luan Peters (as Angel)
Featuring: Maurice Kaufmann (as Charles Grayson), Derek Francis (as Sam Bryant), Derek Aylward (as Nixon, Bryant's assistant)
Starlets: Virginia Wetherell (as Gale, Grayson's girl), Erika Raffael (as Goose, Moon's girlfriend), Sheila Babbage (Caroline, Bryant's daughter)
NOTES:

The version reviewed here carried the title Moon.


The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) Previous
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Writer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Michael Carreras
Type: Horror Running Time: 82 mins
Set in Paris in 1890. Dr Georges Bonnet is a surgeon who runs a private clinic and is also an artist and sculptor. He sculpts nudes and with his charming manner has no difficulty having relationships with beautiful woman who are only to happy to pose for him.

Georges holds a private party to display his latest paintings for sale - however he never sells his sculptures. An ex-lover of his called Janine DuBois turns up unexpectedly whom he knew in Italy and was sad when he suddenly left her without warning. She is with a new man now called Dr Pierre Gerard who is also a surgeon. Georges still loves Janine and has done a sculpture of her for his collection.

Georges is very edgy as he notices the time and quickly ushers his guests away. He goes to his laboratory where his skin starts turning green and he urgently takes a dose from a beaker of steaming fluid that he keeps locked in his safe. This returns him to normal. He must take a dose every six hours lest something awful happen to him. He is desperately awaiting the arrival of an elderly friend of his called Professor Ludwig Weiss who will be able to perform an operation that will end his dependency on the potion.

Ludwig eventually arrives. He is a well-respected scientist in his late eighties and the only man who knows how to perform the life-saving operation Georges needs. He and Ludwig were once working colleagues and their research led to an astonishing medical discovery - the secret to eternal life! Georges decided to undergo the experimental procedure himself. This was 70 years ago and at the time Georges was Ludwig's senior by fifteen years. Now Ludwig is 89 and Georges still looks 35 although he is in fact 104-years-old. They have never published their findings because immortality for everyone would upset the balance of nature - so their long-term experiment has continued in secret.

The only shortcoming is that Georges needs an operation every ten years to renew his uter-parathyroid gland in a transplant operation. After ten years have elapsed he can survive for a further six weeks by taking a special fluid every six hours. After that (or if he misses a dosage) he would die. The other downside is that every ten years Georges must abandon his life and friends and start a new life in another country so that his agelessness does not arouse suspicion. That is why he creates the sculptures to remind himself of the beauty of the women he has loved through the ages.

Ludwig has performed the operation many times but now in his advanced years his hands have developed the shakes and he is unable to do it. Ludwig uses the influence of his reputation to persuade Janine's friend Pierre to carry out the operation under his supervision without telling him the real purpose. Pierre agrees to do it the next day.

In the meantime however Ludwig learns that Georges has been murdering people to harvest the transplant glands and has not been using revitalised organs from dead cadavers as he had believed. Ludwig says the experiment must end and smashes Georges supply of fluid making the urgency of the operation paramount. In his rage Georges kills Ludwig and manages to scoop only enough fluid from the floor for one final six-hour dosage.

Georges tells Pierre that Ludwig was called away suddenly - but without the revered professor's supervision Pierre refuses to do the operation even when Georges confides in him the real reason it needs to be done. So Georges abducts Janine and holds her hostage at a secret location to force Pierre to cooperate. Pierre needs Georges to tell him where Janine is being held so he must go through with it. Georges is anaesthetised and Pierre makes the necessary incision - but then he stitches it back up without doing the transplant. Georges recovers believing he is good for another ten years and goes to release Janine. However when the six-hour effectiveness of his last fluid dose runs out he begins to age and realises that the operation was not done. He falls into a murderous rage as he starts to turn green and age. Pierre rescues Janine as Georges dies a painful death as all the years finally catch up with him.
Starring: Anton Diffring (as Dr Georges Bonnet), Hazel Court (as Janine Dubois), Christopher Lee (as Dr Pierre Gerard), Arnold Marlé (as Professor Ludwig Weiss)
Featuring: Ian Hewitson (as Roget, Bonnet's secretarial assistant), Francis De Wolff (as Detective Inspector), Delphi Lawrence (as Margo Phillipe, Georges' current model)
Starlets: Gerda Larsen (as Street Girl)
NOTES:

From a play by Barré Lyndon


The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) Previous
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Writer: Paul Mayersberg / Director: Nicolas Roeg / Producers: Michael Deeley, Barry Spikings
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 138 mins
Thomas Jerome Newton is a man with a British passport abroad in America with the goal to make a fortune by starting a company called World Enterprises that will introduce his revolutionary technological innovations into the marketplace. He hires a president for his company called Oliver Farnsworth but remains a reclusive background figure himself that the public know little about.

In fact Newton is a visitor from another planet stranded on Earth and seeking to build up sufficient wealth to construct a private space vehicle in which to travel back home. He is sufficiently human-like that a wig and contact lenses disguise his alienness although he can do nothing about his weak constitution under Earth gravity. His own planet is suffering a drought and he came to Earth seeking solutions after monitoring Earth's radio transmissions and discovering how blessed the planet is with water resources.

He is befriended by a compassionate chambermaid at a hotel called Mary-Lou who helps him through difficult times and eventually they become lovers and build a lodge in the countryside to live. Unfortunately Newton becomes addicted to alcohol and loses the focus that he had towards his goal of returning to his family on his own planet.

The authorities become alarmed at the growth rate of World Enterprises fearing it could destabilise the economy and they begin actions to devalue the company by murdering Farnsworth and kidnapping Newton whom they have realised is not of this world.

Newton is allowed every convenience in his captivity but must also submit to scientific study by experts. Mary-Lou visits him but Newton has grown accustomed to his captivity and has resigned himself to this life. Until one day he finds his minders have gone and the doors unlocked and he wanders back out into the world to begin a new kind of life. He makes a pop album as a message to his wife in the hope she will hear it on the radio in years to come when the transmissions reach his home planet.
Comment: Many years go by during the film although no indication of elapsed time is given other than the gradual ageing of the supporting characters around Newton who himself remains unchanged.
Starring: David Bowie (as Thomas Jerome Newton), Candy Clark (as Mary-Lou, Newton's girlfriend), Rip Torn (as Nathan Bryce, college professor), Buck Henry (as Oliver Farnsworth, president of World Enterprises)
Featuring: Bernie Casey (as Peters, government agent), Rick Riccardo (as Trevor, Oliver's partner), Tony Mascia (as Arthur, Newton's driver)
Starlets: Linda Hutton, Hilary Holland, Adrienne Larussa (as Bryce's students), Claudia Jennings (as Peters' Wife, [uncredited])
NOTES:

From the novel by Walter Tevis

Although all three of the students have nude scenes it is not totally certain which is which since they are all given names in the credits which are not used in the dialogue. They are listed one after the other in the credits and if this follows their order of appearance then it is clear which is which otherwise it is not.


The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970) Previous
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Writer: Andrew Meredith / Director: John Krish / Producer: Judd Bernard
Type: Drama Running Time: 86 mins
Peter Reaney works for a management agency whose top act is pop megastar Barry Black who has his own TV show and a legion of young girl fans. Barry is a demanding client, but his importance to the agency is so high that every little whim he has is catered for - including arranging for any groupies that take his fancy to be smuggled discreetly into his hotel rooms. Peter's job keeps him away from home a lot when Barry is on tour and his wife Angela is fed up with it all and wants a divorce. So Peter leaves home and goes to live temporarily with his best friend Val Pringle (a man) who also works for the same agency. Val's wife Jody and Peter have been secretly having an affair behind Val's back - although Val has been carrying on with another woman himself.

When a 17-year-old groupie called Mary Gray gets pregnant by Barry Black the agency boss Alfred Felix arranges for her to get a back-street abortion in order to keep any hint of scandal out of the newspapers. But Peter is outraged when Felix insists on saving money by going for the cheapest abortionist they can find and he offers his resignation - giving four weeks notice.

When Val is killed in an accident Peter reassess his life and with his separation from Angela - he and Val's now-widow Jody look set to become more of an official couple - although she wants him full time and Peter's agency work is so demanding on his time. But when Felix offers him a partnership in the firm, Peter decides to give the agency another chance.

However one of his first tasks is to smooth over the complications which resulted from Mary Gray's abortion. She died as a result of haemorrhaging caused by a drug-induced miscarriage carried out by the cheap doctor. Peter attends the inquest and is so appalled by the tragedy that he confronts Barry Black on the steps of a gig in front of a legion of screaming young fans telling him about the consequences of his actions. Above the noise Barry shouts back that he couldn't care less about the little scrubber and there are plenty more where she came from. The crowd hear this and fall deathly silent at his show of utter contempt for them and he falters knowing his outburst has left his career in tatters. Peter walks away quitting his job and going to take up a life with Jody.
Comment: The title of the film seems somewhat overblown for what is a fairly routine sort of film - no one has any special powers or displays any unusually high level of charisma that no women can possibly resist. Mind you it's not completely clear if the "man" referred to in the title is Barry Black or Peter Reaney - the pop star's "power" might be his star quality that lets him pick and choose from girls only too willing to sleep with him - but Barry is a peripheral character compared to Peter who has a string of affairs to his name because he has a certain special something that women fall for - but nothing that could really be classed as an especially significant "power".
Starring: Rod Taylor (as Peter Reaney), Penelope Horner (as Angela Reaney, Peter's wife), James Booth (as Val Pringle), Carol White (as Jody Pringle, Val's wife), Clive Francis (as Barry Black, pop star)
Featuring: Charles Korvin (as Alfred Felix, agency boss), Alexandra Stewart (as Frances, friend of Jody and Val), Keith Barron (as Jake Braid, agency man), Magali Noël (as Mrs Franchetti, Peter's apartment hallway neighbour)
Familiar Faces: Geoffrey Hughes (as Policeman), Jimmy Jewel (as Mr Pringle, cameo appearance at Val's funeral)
Starlets: Geraldine Moffat (as Lydia Blake, Barry's main girlfriend), Wendy Hamilton (as Mary Gray, pregnant groupie), Marie-France Boyer (as Maggie, French singer), Diana Chance (as Stag party stripper), Valerie Leon (as Glenda, guest on Barry's TV show)
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Gordon Williams


The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) Previous
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Writers: Basil Dearden, Michael Relph / Director: Basil Dearden / Producer: Michael Relph
Type: Thriller Running Time: 88 mins
Harold Pelham is a smart efficient business executive working for a Marine Engineering company where he is highly respected and regarded for his good judgement. He lives his life in perfect order as a family man with a wife called Eve and two young sons. Although successful he has allowed his life to fall into a dependable but drab routine and his wife fears for the future of their marriage that has no excitement left in it for her.

One evening while driving home and strictly observing, as always, the speed limit, a kind of madness comes over him and he starts speeding in a reckless manner, abandoning any sense of safety as he revels in the sheer thrill of weaving through the traffic. Eventually he crashes and is rushed to hospital for a life or death operation. During the operation his heart stops and he has to be revived - and for a few moments the surgeons are puzzled by an anomalous reading of two heartbeats showing on the monitor until it reverts to normal.

The operation is successful and after a period of recuperation and a foreign holiday he returns to work. The topic up for discussion in the boardroom is the proposed takeover offer from a rival electronics company EGO (Electronics Group). Harold is against the deal and feels it may have been prompted by EGO getting wind of an exciting technical innovation his company have secretly been developing. If true then this would mean there was a high-level leak of sensitive commercial information.

Around this time Pelham has some strange exchanges with various colleagues who refer to conversations he never had with them or social gatherings he knows he didn't attend. He begins to wonder if some elaborate practical joke is being played upon him. He meets a woman called Julie who claims to be having an affair with him and he is later contacted by a representative of EGO wondering why the deal is not going as smoothly as he had promised. Pelham cannot understand why all these people seem so convinced it was him since he knows full well it wasn't.

Pelham fears he might be going mad and consults a psychiatrist who books him into a clinic for a few days of complete bed rest to cure him of this psychosis in which he seems to be unknowingly acting out another life. Meanwhile WE see another Pelham carrying on with Pelham's life. With supreme confidence he conducts secret negotiations with EGO to smooth through the deal in return for an executive position in the new merged company and then successfully convinces his own board on what a good deal it is. He wines and dines his wife giving a new zest to their stale marriage and generally enjoys the lifestyle that his position and wealth permits him.

When the real Pelham comes out of the clinic he hopes his "double-life" is over. But of course it is not and once he returns to work he discovers all the changes that "he" has supposedly made. Increasingly agitated about his own state of mind he phones home and is amazed to find he is talking to "himself". He rushes home to confront the impostor. But Pelham is now a nervous wreck and when the two Pelham's meet face to face in front of friends and family it is the new confident self-assured Pelham whom everyone believes and the overwrought original is decried as the impostor as he hurls hysterical accusations around.

Left alone together the new Pelham explains to his counterpart that when Pelham died on the operating table the new persona emerged and when the old Pelham was revived it left both of them in existence with two sides of their personality split. The old Pelham rushes out of the house and into his car determined to fetch the police and the new Pelham gives chase with a steely determination to run the unwanted original off the road. Eventually he succeeds and old Pelham's car crashes off of a bridge into a river - but as he does so he vanishes from the driver's seat. And as the new Pelham triumphantly surveys the wreckage below he feels a heart flutter with a few moments of a double heartbeat as his counterpart's spirit re-merges with him and the original combined Pelham personality comes back.
Comment: Quite a good film even if the method by which the real flesh-and-blood double came about is not in any way plausible without some sort of bolted-on science fiction scenario which is not a feature of this film.
Starring: Roger Moore (as Harold Pelham), Hildegard Neil (as Eve Pelham, Harold's wife), Anton Rodgers (as Tony Alexander, Pelham's friend and colleague), Olga Georges-Picot (as Julie Anderson, Pelham's mistress)
Featuring: Freddie Jones (Dr Harris, Psychiatrist), John Welsh (as Sir Charles Freeman, board chairman), Ruth Trouncer (Pelham's secretary), Kevork Malikyan (Luigi, the Pelham's butler), Aubrey Richards (as Henry, Research Scientist), Anthony Nicholls (as Sir Arthur Richardson, chairman EGO), John Carson (as Ashton, executive at EGO)
NOTES:

Hildegard Neil receives an "introducing" credit and also appears "by permission of the Royal Shakespeare Company".

Based on a story entitled The Case of Mr. Pelham by Anthony Armstrong, This was originally made as an episode of US TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents broadcast in America on 4 December 1955 and was one of the episodes that Hitchcock directed himself.


The Man Who Would Be King (1975) Previous
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Writers: John Huston, Gladys Hill / Director: John Huston / Producer: John Foreman
Type: Adventure Running Time: 123 mins
Set in the 1800s. Peachy Carnehan and Daniel Dravot are two English ex-soldiers who have remained in India as civilians after their tour of duty ended. Both are swindling rogues who apply their skills of duplicity to their own financial advantage. Now they have conceived their most audacious venture yet and seek the counsel of Northern Star journalist Rudyard Kipling for some advice. Their scheme is to travel to the backward country Kafiristan and provide their soldiering skills to a tribal leader. They will train the locals with advanced warfare techniques to help them vanquish their enemies and capture its territories. Then the English duo will depose the local leader and become the country's kings and make off with all its wealth. Kipling cautions them that the journey to Kafiristan is treacherous and no white man since Alexander the Great in 300BC has ever returned. But they are determined to go so Kipling gives Daniel a pendant bearing Alexander's emblem for good luck.

Peachy and Daniel persevere across the hundreds of miles of hazardous terrain through Afghanistan and across snow covered Himalayan mountains enduring harsh freezing conditions. Their trek is almost halted by an impassable crevasse until a fortuitous avalanche fills it in with snow and they are able to cross.

They reach Kafiristan and come upon the village of Urheb where they are fortunate to find an ex-Indian army comrade of theirs called Billy Fish, the only survivor of an ill-fated geographical expedition. He acts as their translator and they are introduced to the ruler Ootah. Their offer to train his men and supply them with rifles with which to conquer his people's many enemies is heartily accepted by Ootah.

The two Englishmen teach Ootah's men the skills of warcraft and battlefield discipline and eventually they are ready to begin their campaign. The new skills and equipment outclass their opponents whose resistance crumples and the Urheb people conquer many villages. At one point Daniel leads his recruits into battle and charges the enemy. He is hit by an enemy arrow but does not bleed because it struck a thick belt he was wearing under his tunic. But the people do not know this and are awestruck - they believe he is a god and fall into subservient worship of him. Peachy and Daniel realise that this unexpected turn of events can be put to their advantage and is an even better outcome than they had envisioned. So they play along with the notion that Daniel is a god.

Soon the country's most holy man Kafu Selim bids Daniel come to his city populated by monks. Kafu has reservations about Daniel's claim to be a god and is intending to stab him to test whether he bleeds - but when he sees Daniel's pendant all his doubts evaporate because the pendant displays their city's holy symbol. Daniel is exalted as the son of Alexander with the official sanction of Kafu Selim.

Daniel is given access to the stored treasures of Alexander which are now his to do with as he pleases. With their objective achieved beyond their wildest expectations Peachy wants to leave with as much as they can carry while their luck is still in. But Daniel has become accustomed to the godlike reverence to which he is treated. He now believes it was his destiny to come here and lead these people and does not want to abandon them now. He has even selected a bride, although this causes disquiet since the people believe a mortal woman will suffer immediate conflagration should she be intimate with a god. Daniel uses his divine authority to override their concerns. Peachy agrees to stay for his friend's wedding ceremony and then leave afterwards with his share of the treasure.

But at the wedding ceremony his bride Roxanne is so terrified of her anticipated fate that she bites Daniel when he kisses her and everyone sees Daniel bleed. They know therefore that he is no god and rise up in anger against him for deceiving them. He and Peachy flee but they are caught. Daniel is executed and Peachy is horribly tortured.

Peachy is freed after surviving his torture against the odds although it leaves him a broken man. Three years later he returns to Rudyard Kipling's office to recount the tale and gives Kipling a gift of the golden crown of Alexander that Daniel had also worn.
Starring: Sean Connery (as Daniel Dravot), Michael Caine (as Peachy Carnehan)
Featuring: Christopher Plummer (as Rudyard Kipling), Saeed Jaffrey (as Billy Fish, translator), Dodhmi Larbi (as Ootah, tribal leader), Karroom Ben Bouih (as Kafu Selim, high priest), Jack May (as British District Commissioner in India)
Starlets: Shakira Caine (as Roxanne, Daniel's reluctant bride)


Mandingo (1975) Previous
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Writer: Norman Wexler / Director: Richard Fleischer / Producer: Dino De Laurentiis
Type: American / Period Drama Running Time: 126 mins
In the mid-1800s in the Southern United States the ownership of black slaves is a way of life for rich white landowners. They believe that black people are a lower species without souls and that enslavement of them is a right ordained by God. The treatment that black slaves receive varies considerably by owner - some treat them no better than animals whilst others allow them a modicum of dignity and welfare consideration. Hammond Maxwell of the Falconhurst plantation is such an owner. He never treats his black workers with unnecessary cruelty although he can be harsh if the need to quash troublemakers arises. Hammond enjoys the company of young black women as his bed wenches and treats them kindly.

Hammond's father Warren wants an heir and urges Hammond to get himself a white wife. Warren suggests Hammond's cousin Blanche would be an ideal candidate - and she would agree because her father is looking to borrow some money. Hammond and Blanche get married and almost immediately their relationship is on rocky ground - he suspects her of not being a virgin and she becomes resentful of his continued use of black wenches to whom he shows what she considers undue affection. Hammond sees nothing wrong in his own actions but finds her undisclosed loss of maidenhood to be a vile betrayal and refuses to sleep with her again until she reveals who it was.

Meanwhile Hammond buys himself a strong black slave called Mede from the African Mandingo tribe. Hammond intends to train Mede as a prize-fighter and enter him into bare knuckle fighting contests against other owners' slaves.

Blanche becomes increasingly contentious about Hammond's continued obstinacy and eventually admits it was her own brother with whom she had sex when she had been very young. Warren becomes impatient for a grandchild and decides to force the couple to be man and wife together and locks them in their bedroom until they have been intimate - and this they do.

Soon Hammond has to go away for a few weeks to sell some slaves and while he is gone Blanche decides she will make use of slave fighter Bede in the same way that Hammond uses the black girls. She commands Bede to come to her bedchamber on several occasions threatening to claim he raped her if he does not obey.

When Hammond returns nothing is said to him of this illicit dalliance. Blanche soon announces she is with child and Hammond is pleased at the prospect of having a son. Blanche clearly hopes that the child is his and not the result of her unions with Bede.

But unfortunately for her the baby is black and her shocking disgrace is exposed. The baby is allowed to die. What she has done is considered by everyone as an unforgivable sin even though she tries to assert that her conduct was no different to her husband's. Hammond disguises his fury long enough to calmly administer to the unsuspecting Blanche a beverage mixed with a potion normally used to humanely euthanize old black slaves who can no longer work, thereby sending her into a sleep from which she will never wake.

Hammond then vents his full fury on Bede, killing the valuable slave in the most painful way he can devise, despite Bede's futile protests that Blanche gave him no choice in the matter and he was only obeying her orders. Another slave is so furious at this injustice that he picks up a discarded rifle and is about to shoot Hammond when Warren tries to intervene and gets shot instead. The film ends there with Hammond's father and wife both dead.
Starring: Perry King (as Hammond Maxwell), James Mason (as Warren Maxwell, Hammond's father), Susan George (as Blanche, Hammond's wife), Ken Norton (as Mede, fighting slave)
Featuring: Richard Ward (as Agamemnon, housebutler slave), Brenda Sykes (as Ellen, Hammond's favoured bed-wench), Lillian Hayman (as Lucrezia Borgia, housekeeper slave), Roy Poole (as Doc Redfield) Ben Masters (as Charles, Blanche's brother)
Starlets: Debbi Morgan (as Dite), Reda Wyatt (as Big Pearl)
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Kyle Onstott and upon a play by Jack Kirkland

Ken Norton receives an "introducing" credit

This American movie is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Susan George

There was a sequel to this film called Drum (1976). This continued the story of Hammond Maxwell (played instead by Warren Oates) although most of the other characters were newly introduced. Ken Norton again appeared as the main black slave, but as a different character called "Drum".


Maniac (1963) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Michael Carreras
Type: Suspense Thriller Running Time: 82 mins
Jeff Farrell is an American who has ended up in a provincial town in Southern France after splitting with his girlfriend. He stays at an off-season hotel run by Eve Beynat and her 19-year-old stepdaughter Annette. Four years ago Annette's father Georges was committed to an insane asylum after using a blowtorch to kill a man who had raped Annette. Eve continues to visit her husband Georges every two weeks.

Jeff is attracted to both Annette and Eve and although he initially favours the company of the younger Annette, it is Eve who makes the stronger play for him. Jeff falls in love with Eve and they end up as a couple. Eve tells Jeff more about Georges and how he is actually no longer insane and that it was a temporary madness that overcame him in the wake of what was done to Annette. She tells Jeff that Georges has a plan to escape so he can be with his daughter again and she persuades Jeff to help by driving the getaway transport. After that Eve says she will be free of him forever with no ties or responsibility to look after Annette and she and Jeff can move away together.

Jeff agrees to help and after Georges escapes they help drive him to the port. Later on however Jeff discovers a body in the boot of the car which seems to be that of a prison guard that Georges killed during his escape. To cover up their involvement Eve and Jeff dispose of the body into a river. It turns out the prison guard had been Georges' accomplice in the escape.

A few days later Jeff notices some activity in Georges' old workshop. He investigates and is knocked out. When he regains consciousness he finds himself tied up and the prisoner of Georges who has returned along with the retrieved body of the dead guard. Georges says that he does not want to be forever on the run so he is going to blowtorch the guard's dead face in the manner of his previous crime and then set the acetylene tanks to explode. Jeff will be killed and when his body is found with the dead and mutilated guard the police will be forced to conclude from the "signature" methodology that it was Georges who died in an accident whilst carrying out a mad atrocity - and they will stop looking for him. (The action then skips forward a few hours so we miss seeing what happens next)

(When we return) The explosion has happened and Georges' plan seems to have worked. Eve spreads the word that Jeff suddenly left to go back to America before the incident. But Annette guesses the truth and says she will tell the police that she thinks it was Jeff who died in the explosion and not Georges. Eve says she will drive her stepdaughter to the police station to report it but instead takes a detour to a derelict warehouse where Georges is waiting. However (in a twist) it turns out that this man is not Georges at all but the prison guard. Eve hated her husband and during her fortnightly visits had fallen in love with the guard and planned this whole deception with him using Jeff as a convenient unwitting pawn. Georges was in fact the dead man believed to be the guard. Eve and the guard plan to run away together once both he and "Georges" were considered to be officially dead. Now the only loose end is for "Georges" to kill Annette because she knows too much.

However what Eve did not know was that Jeff is actually still alive after being pulled to safety by a hotel handyman before the explosion. The police suspected Eve and therefore told her a lie that two men had died in the explosion so she would think the plan had worked. Jeff has since been staying out of sight while the police played along with the deception waiting for Eve to make her move and rendezvous with "Georges".

Annette flees in terror onto to a high balcony shelf pursued by "Georges" - luckily he loses his footing and she pushes him to his death. The police then arrive to arrest Eve, and Jeff comforts Annette.
Starring: Kerwin Mathews (as Jeff Farrell), Nadia Gray (as Eve Beynat, hotel proprietor), Liliane Brousse (as Annette Beynat, Eve's stepdaughter)
Featuring: Donald Houston (as "Georges", Eve's husband), George Pastell (as Inspector Etienne), Norman Bird (as Gendarme), Justine Lord (as Grace, Jeff's girlfriend, [main opening scene only before she leaves him]), Arnold Diamond (as Rapist, [in prologue])
NOTES:

Made in Black and White


Marat/Sade (1967) Previous
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Writer: (see below) / Director: Peter Brook / Producer: Michael Birkett
Type: Drama Running Time: 119 mins
Full on-screen title is: The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. The shortening of this to "Marat/Sade" appears to be an accepted abbreviation although it is not seen as such on screen.

Set in a French insane asylum in July 1808 where the inmates are putting on a play for an invited audience written by one of the asylum's most notorious inmates - The Marquis De Sade - a radical writer and thinker whose books are banned and he himself subject to castigation and prosecution. The play has been allowed by the asylum director as part of a general rehabilitation programme for the inmates

The musical play performed is set fifteen years previously during the French revolution and tells the story of events leading up to the murder of another controversial writer called Jean-Paul Marat. The parts are all played by inmates with serious mental problems leading most of the characters to behave as if they are on the edge of psychosis. The play is stopped and started several times for discussion and censure when the asylum director tells De Sade that he is going too far with his usage of the play to state his polemic on the country's current political environment. At the end of the play the inmates rampage and attack the audience.
Comment: The overall play within the film (which is the vast bulk of the piece) is largely incomprehensible and difficult to follow or build up much interest in what it's supposed to be about. It also probably stretches credibility somewhat to believe that the inmates, for all the disorder and mental instability they show during the performance, have nevertheless had the organisation and discipline required beforehand to rehearse and memorise the entire complex script and its associated musical numbers.
Starring: Patrick Magee (as Marquis de Sade), Ian Richardson (as Jean-Paul Marat, inmate), Michael Williams (as Herald, inmate, play's narrator), Clifford Rose (as Monsieur Coulmier, Asylum's director), Glenda Jackson (as Charlotte Corday, inmate performing lead male female role), John Steiner (as Monsieur Dupere, inmate)
Featuring: Other inmate parts:- Freddie Jones, Hugh Sullivan, John Hussey, Morgan Sheppard, Jonathan Burn, Jeanette Landis, Robert Lloyd, Leon Lissek, Susan Williamson
Starlets: Heather Canning, Jennifer Tudor (as Nuns, staff)
NOTES:

Based on a play by Peter Weiss (translated into English by Geoffrey Skelton), screenplay and verse adaptation by Adrian Mitchell)

All the inmate characters other than the Marquis De Sade himself are identified above by the characters they play in the performance rather than their real names (which aren't given anyway)


The Marseille Contract (1974) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Judd Bernard / Director: Robert Parrish
Type: Thriller Running Time: 87 mins
Steve Ventura is the senior officer for law enforcement at the US Embassy in Paris. Several of his officers have been killed while investigating the activities of a drug baron named Jacques Brizard who masquerades as a distinguished citizen and remains seemingly untouchable by the French authorities. Ventura takes his case to Inspector Briac of the Paris police but the French detective's hands are tied by orders from on high and he is unable to take any action to curtail Brizard's activities. Ventura is stymied and comes to the conclusion the only way to stop the drug lord's activities is to kill him. Briac unofficially provides Ventura with the contact details of a professional hitman called John Deray whom they have previously investigated.

Ventura meets with Deray whom it turns out he already happens to know and had no idea he was a hitman. Deray conducts himself in an amiable manner and has no traits that betray his ruthless streak. He treats his line of work in a very business-like way and for the right price will kill anyone his client wishes. When Ventura gives him Brizard's name as the intended target Deray knows how tough it will be. Brizard is one of the best-protected men in the country living in a well-guarded mansion in Marseilles with his grown-up daughter Lucienne.

Deray realises he must work his way into Brizard's clique in order to get close enough to dispose of him. Deray therefore proceeds to wile himself into the company of Brizard's voracious daughter by posturing himself as an endearing thrill-seeker calculated to appeal to her similar disposition. Deray thereby gains an invite to the Brizard Mansion as her companion.

Brizard accepts Deray at face-value as his daughter's latest conquest but nevertheless makes some enquiries and finds out he works as a killer-for-hire. Brizard of course has no idea Deray is currently on-the-job and assumes he is in off-duty mode. Brizard decides to put him on his own payroll and Deray accepts the offer in order to remain close to his target while waiting for an opportunity to discharge his commission.

But Brizard has his own reasons for hiring Deray. He has fed bogus intelligence to the police about a shipment of drugs into the country and he sends Deray off to act as a fall guy to be caught by the police. Deray manages to evade capture and knows he cannot afford to underestimate Brizard again.

Meanwhile Steve Ventura has been having second thoughts about the wisdom of hiring a hitman and realises he should have done the job himself rather than trusting a third-party. He heads to Marseille to make contact with Deray in order to call him off. But Deray refuses to cancel the contract out of professional pride although he does permit Ventura to accompany him. Brizard is staging a charity gala and Deray has learnt that Brizard has arranged to slip away from the event to personally supervise the arrival of a drug shipment.

Ventura and Deray observe the meeting in a rundown alley and Ventura is astonished to see Paris detective Inspector Briac present. Briac is heavily involved in the drugs operation and as events unfold he pulls a gun on Brizard intending to kill him in a double-cross and take the shipment for himself. He figures that Brizard's death will be blamed on the hitman Deray whom Briac sent his way via the fortuitous folly of the American Ventura. A gunfight ensues in which Deray and Ventura also become involved. Briac and Deray are both killed and Brizard gets away and returns to his gala.

Ventura is the only other survivor and he is determined not to let the drug kingpin get away scot-free yet again. He takes one of the fallen guns with a silencer attachment and heads off to gala venue. He asks a lone woman for a dance and manoeuvres them over to where Brizard is dancing with his daughter. Ventura then fires the gun from inside his pocket directly into the crimelord's back without providing any warning. No one notices the slight noise of the silenced weapon over the music and Ventura makes a quick exit as Brizard slumps to the ground dead in his daughter's arms. Ventura leaves town to head back to Paris feeling satisfied that an evil man is now out of the picture.
Starring: Michael Caine (as John Deray, hitman), Anthony Quinn (as Steve Ventura, US Drug Enforcement officer), James Mason (as Jacques Brizard, drug baron), Maureen Kerwin (as Lucienne, Brizard's daughter)
Featuring: Alexandra Stewart (as Rita, Ventura's girlfriend), Maurice Ronet (as Inspector Briac, Paris detective), Marcel Bozzuffi (as Calmet, Brizard's accountant), Catherine Rouvel (as Brizard's mistress), Andre Oumansky (as Marsac, Marseilles police inspector), Pierre Salinger (as Williams, Ventura's boss), Hella Petri (as The Countess, Brizard's friend)


Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions (1980) Previous
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aka: True Blue Confessions
Writer: John M. East / Director: Nick Galtress / Producer: David C. Kenten
Type: Documentary Running Time: 35 mins
A biographical piece on the life of British sex star Mary Millington who at the time this was made had only recently died. Made by the people that worked with her, it is obviously aimed at her fans of the time who naturally wanted to hear good things about her so its difficult to tell whether she was really the beacon of loveliness she is portrayed as being. It charts her progress from photo-model to sex-film actress and then to being a sex shop owner where her fights against censorship led her to many run-ins with the police. She committed suicide on Aug 19th, 1979.

The film uses archive footage from some of her mainstream films and still photos as well as interviews with people who knew her in the industry. Also some specially filmed sequences featuring an actress standing in as the young Mary.
Comment: Based on watching some of the mainstream sex-comedy films she appeared in it's hard to comprehend they are talking about the same person in this biopic. To me her acting performances always seem wooden and amateurish and she doesn't seem to exude any charm or sexiness and has never struck me as being particularly pretty either. Her incredible popularity therefore is a complete mystery to me - especially when David Sullivan claims in his interview that had she lived she could have gone on to be the greatest actress of her generation!
Starring: Mary Millington (archive footage and stills)
Featuring: John M. East (Narrator/presenter), Tom Hayes, John Lindsay, Rex Peters and David Sullivan (as themselves/Interviewees)
Starlets: Faith Daykin (as Young Mary), Kathy Green


Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) Previous
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Writer: John Hale / Director: Charles Jarrott / Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Type: Historical Drama Running Time: 122 mins
A sixteenth century historical drama telling the story of Mary Stuart, the rightful queen of Scotland who returns from exile in France to take up her Scottish throne upon the death of her mother. Mary has noble intentions but finds she has to contend with her ambitious brother James who had anticipated Mary being a figurehead only with him having the real power; and the general ill-feeling towards her brought about by her devotion to the Catholic faith in a mainly Protestant country; and the antipathy of her cousin Elizabeth, the Queen of England.

Elizabeth fears that if Mary gains wide support abroad from Catholic countries she may be able to amass an army to invade England and take up the English throne to which she has a claim. To try to prevent this Elizabeth conceives a plan to destabilise Mary. Elizabeth sends an emissary called Lord Henry Darnley to Scotland with a succession proposal that she knows will be turned down - but Henry's real objective is to woo Mary and divert her attention away from state matters.

Lord Henry is a handsome charmer and Mary falls madly in love with him and they are soon married. But Lord Henry has his own private agenda and once married starts selfishly throwing his weight around as if he were now a fully-fledged king which makes life very difficult for Mary. They have a baby who is called Prince James.

The political situation in Scotland becomes very turbulent with the ambitions of various factions leading to unlikely alliances and bitter betrayals until Mary is forced to flee to England to escape being imprisoned by the Protestant lords who want her abdication or death.

Elizabeth is disturbed that Mary has set up court in her country and decides that Mary must be kept isolated as a virtual prisoner until she naturally dies, lest she one day rise again to greater power in Scotland. Elizabeth is urged by her advisers to have Mary killed but the English monarch fears the political consequences if she signs the death warrant of an anointed queen.

Instead Elizabeth decides that only if genuine proof can be found that Mary is plotting against her can she be justly tried and executed. Many years pass with Mary kept in isolation until eventually proof of treachery is uncovered in secret letters Mary has written asking for help from the King of Spain and she is duly executed.

Elizabeth rules England for a further sixteen years and has no children. Upon her death the only claimant to the English throne is Mary's son James and he becomes James I of England.
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave (as Mary, Queen of Scots), Glenda Jackson (as Queen Elizabeth I), Timothy Dalton (as Lord Henry Darnley, Mary's treacherous husband)
Featuring: Patrick McGoohan (as James Stuart, brother of Mary), Nigel Davenport (as James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell), Trevor Howard (as Sir William Cecil, James Stewart's adviser), Daniel Massey (as Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth's lover), Ian Holm (as David Rizzio, agent of the Pope), Andrew Keir (as Ruthven, conspirator with Henry), Tom Fleming (as Father Ballard, helping Mary in exile)


The Mask of Satan (1960) Previous
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aka: Black Sunday
Writers: Ennio De Concini, Mario Serandrei / Director: Mario Bava / Producer: Massimo De Rita
Type: European / Horror Running Time: 86 mins
Prologue: In 17th century Moldavia a high inquisition sentences Princess Asa of the House of Vajda to death for practicing witchcraft. Her own brother is her accuser. She and her accomplice Igor Javutich are branded as servants of the devil and now their vile deeds are to be punished by gruesome death. Ornate bronze devil masks studded on the inside with sharp spikes are to be hammered onto their faces and then their bodies burnt at the stake to cleanse the earth of their foulness. Before the sentence is carried out Asa curses her brother and all his future bloodline vowing that one day she will rise again and destroy his kin. The death sentence is carried out and the evildoers are executed by placement of the Masks of Satan. But just as their lifeless bodies are to be burnt a sudden eerie rainstorm extinguishes the flames. The full decree is never carried out and the still masked bodies of the abominable evildoers are instead interred - Javutich is buried in unconsecrated ground and Asa placed in a casket in the family crypt. As caution against any mystical resurrection the casket lid incorporates a glass window above her face through which she would see an anathematic stone cross standing sentinel over her, thwarting any would-be resurrection with its sacred power. End of prologue

Exactly two centuries later in the 1800s two doctors are travelling to a medical conference in Moscow by coach. They are medical professor Dr Thomas Kruvajan and his younger assistant Dr Andre Gorobec. As they are passing through some Moldavian woods, on their way to a local stopover inn, their coach throws a wheel. Whilst the coachman carries out repairs the two men wander off to explore a nearby ruined chapel. They find its underground crypt and discover to their amazement that it is the resting place of the witch Asa who is still part of local folklore. Through the intact casket glass window they see the mask still fastened to her head. Suddenly a bat flies around and as the professor lashes out to defend himself he hits the now ancient stone cross which collapses and shatters the glass. The professor inquisitively removes the mask from the corpse's face to find that the flesh underneath remains remarkably preserved with her pockmarked and eyeless face still recognisably human - he accidentally cuts his finger on some broken glass and a few drops of his blood fall onto Asa's face. Elsewhere in the coffin Andre finds a pictograph which contains strange pictures and writings which he keeps. Then the coachman tells them the wagon is repaired and they can continue their journey.

Outside they meet a woman walking her dogs. She is the Princess Katia Vajda and this chapel is on her father's land. They assure her they meant no harm and were just looking around before they went on to the local inn. Andre is spellbound by Katia's compelling beauty and amazed by how much family resemblance she has to the dead witch in the coffin. The two men continue on their way to stay overnight at the inn. Meanwhile in the crypt the witch's body is beginning to reverse its decay with her eyes reforming!

In the castle Katia rejoins her brother Prince Constantine and their father Prince Vajda. Strange unexplained howling noises are heard from outside and above the fireplace the portrait of their notorious ancestor Princess Asa seems somehow to have changed as if it is no longer as it was painted. Katia has always felt unnerved by the picture and her own uncanny resemblance to the woman accused of being a witch two centuries afore. Prince Vajda has his own private concerns about this portentous day - the two hundredth anniversary of Asa's unholy demise when she had been but 21 years of age. The same age as is now attained by his beautiful and innocent daughter Katia. Vajda believes in the curse and thinks it is the reason that his family have fallen into decline over the years. His only comfort, as he makes his way to his bed, is a belief that the power of Christ's sacred cross will protect them from any stirring evil.

In the crypt Asa's body continues its restitution to the extent that the professor's drop of life-renewing blood will allow. She is still immotile but able to utter words to invoke the dark powers at her disposal. And in response to her call, life returns to the body of her former lover Igor Javutich and he rises from his grave and walks the Earth once more to do her bidding. Javutich enters the castle intent on killing Price Vajda. The old man is terrified by the deathly intruder but holds the attacker at bay with his cross. Javutich is forced to depart with his task unaccomplished leaving the old man merely in a state of shock when Katia rushes in to see why he cried out. Javutich listens in as he hears Katia send the house servant Boris to the local inn to fetch one of the doctors she met earlier.

Javutich disposes of Boris and finds Professor Kruvajan who is taking a midnight stroll alone. Javutich represents himself as a servant of the royal family communicating the urgent summons for medical assistance. Kruvajan is easily lured into Javutich's carriage not suspecting anything amiss. Javutich takes the professor to the castle but instead of taking him to the prince's bedchamber leads him down a passage into the witch's crypt where her power overwhelmingly besets him and turns him into her dutiful undead minion.

Professor Kruvajan, now in the grip of his new evil mistress, presents himself to the royal family in answer to their medical summons. He declares that the elderly prince is merely in shock and needs rest and undertakes to sit with him through the night to ensure his wellbeing. But once alone the professor looks upon the prince with sinister intent...

Next morning Katia and Constantine are shocked to find their father dead and the doctor nowhere to be seen. At the inn Andre looks for the professor and is surprised to be told by the innkeeper's daughter Sonja that she saw him being summonsed to the castle to attend the prince. Andre goes up to the castle and finds out the tragic overnight news but is perplexed by the strange unprofessional behaviour of his mentor in abandoning a patient and then vanishing in the night. Andre is worried for Professor Kruvajan's welfare. Then the villagers come up to the castle having found the body of Boris. Sonja is amongst them and when she looks at the various portraits hanging on the walls she announces with complete conviction that the man who fetched Professor Kruvajan from the village was the image of Igor Javutich. Andre finds it hard to believe her because the man shown in the painting has been dead for centuries.

The local priest begins preparations for Prince Vajda's funeral. Andre shows him the pictograph he took from the witch's casket and the priest says he will try to decipher the Cyrillic writings. Andre tries to comfort Katia to whom he feels a strong attraction. He tries to persuade her to leave this place with such unhappy memories but she tells him she is bound here by forces she does not understand to live out this purposeless existence.

Prince Constantine accidentally discovers the entrance to a series of secret passageways behind the fireplace in the main hall. He and Andre go in to explore and find it leads to the same witch's crypt which Andre entered the previous night through the front entrance. The witch is still lying in state but her face is now fresh and reformed and they see she is not dead anymore but sleeping with breathing evident. Something clearly unnatural has occurred and Andre decides to go back and summon a priest to deal with it leaving Constantine to watch over the body. But after Andre has gone Constantine is attacked by Javutich and seemingly killed after a titanic struggle.

Andre finds the priest who has now translated the inscriptions which give the method by which slaves of the devil may be released from their torment - by piercing the left eyeball with a knife and giving them eternal rest. This theory is soon tested when they encounter the undead resting body of Andre's colleague Professor Kruvajan and despatch him to a restful peace.

Andre and the priest work out that the witch's power is growing stronger but her centuries' dead body cannot sustain her life for long - in order to completely renew her life she must possess the body of her look-alike descendant Katia. To stop that happening Andre must re-enter the witch's crypt and pierce her left eye while there is still time.

Meanwhile back at the castle Javutich abducts Katia and brings her into the tomb so the witch can take over her perfect body and live once again to practice her evil. The witch considers the life of Katia to be hers by rights consecrated to her by Satan. That demonic bind was what prevented Katia from ever leaving the castle grounds. But then as Asa begins to assimilate Katia's life she is thwarted part way through the process when she finds the girl is wearing a crucifix which she cannot touch or her skin will burn. The half-completed transfer gives Asa more freedom of movement but she is unable to finalise it.

When Andre enters the passages he is accosted by the witch's protector Javutich and almost killed until the badly injured Constantine manages to push the witch's evil accomplice to his death down a pit. The effort is too much for Constantine and he dies but in doing so he has given Andre a chance to save his sister's soul.

When Andre arrives in the crypt he finds the witch prone in her coffin and Katia sitting nearby urging Andre to kill the witch quickly. But as Andre raises a knife to the left eye of the body lying there he sees it is wearing a crucifix which should burn her flesh were she really the profane witch. Andre realises that Asa has placed Katia in the casket hoping that Andre would mistakenly kill her. Now that the full body swap cannot take place Asa wanted the consolation of fulfilling her age-old edict of eradicating the Vajda bloodline. Now that too has failed the witch tries to subdue Andre with her hypnotic powers - but then she is overcome when a mob of villagers led by the priest rush in and drag her to a stake where they proceed to burn her - properly this time with no intervention from bad weather.

With the witch finally irrevocably dead and the curse lifted, Katia recovers to full health and no longer has any phobic fears about leaving as she and Andre kiss to cement their growing love for one another.
Starring: Barbara Steele (as Katia Vajda & Asa the witch, [credited as Barbara Steel]), John Richardson (as Dr Andre Gorobec, younger doctor), Andrea Checchi (as Dr Thomas Kruvajan, older doctor), Ivo Garrani (as Prince Vajda, Katia's father), Enrico Olivieri (as Prince Constantine Vajda, Katia's brother)
Featuring: Arturo Dominici (as Igor Javutich, Asa's accomplice), Antonio Pierfederici (as Priest), Tino Bianchi (as Ivan, Prince Vajda's butler), Clara Bindi (as Innkeeper), Germana Dominici (as Sonya, Innkeeper's Daughter), Mario Passante (as Coachman), Renato Terra (as Boris, castle servant)
NOTES:

From a tale by Nikolaj Gogol; English dialogue written and directed by George Higgins III

Made in Black and White

This Italian film was reviewed here because of the starring roles for British actors Barbara Steele and John Richardson. The version reviewed was dubbed into English and carried the title The Mask Of Satan.


The Masque of the Red Death (1964) Previous
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Writers: Charles Beaumont, R. Wright Campbell / Director/Producer: Roger Corman
Type: Horror Running Time: 86 mins
(In a prologue an old woman is seen walking through a forest and chancing upon a mysterious cowled figure in red robes who tells her that the time of their deliverance is at hand. This prophecy is passed on to her villagers as a hopeful sign that the days of misery under their evil ruler may be close to an end, however as the story progresses it is soon clear the man in red meant something entirely different ... )

It is medieval Europe and a feared ruler called Prince Prospero governs his province with a cruel lack of compassion taking pleasure in toying with his subjects' emotions as he wields life and death decisions over them on a whim. In the village of Catana (where the old woman from the prologue lives) wedding preparations are underway between a young woman called Francesca and her lover Gino when the Prince turns up wishing to feast among the villagers. Francesca's father and Gino speak out defiantly against his unwelcome presence and for their insolence Prospero orders them garrotted. Francesca begs for mercy and so the Prince, with an eye for some creative sadism, tells her that he will allow one of the men to live but she must decide which is to die. Francesca is frozen in a quandary for she dearly loves both men - one as her father and the other as her lover. To hopefully divert Prospero's focus away from playing out this particular cruel whim Gino goads him about the deliverance prophecy just as a scream is heard from a tent where the old woman lives - inside they discover the old woman's face has become crimson - a symptom which everyone recognises and fears as the scourge of the incurable Red Death! It is a disease which is deadly but fortunately only communicable by touch. The Prince orders the village burnt to the ground and, after establishing that they did not touch the woman, takes Francesca, Gino and Ludovico (Francesca's father) with him to his castle so he can continue his cruel games with them. He orders a quarantine lock-down of the castle such that no one may enter or leave until the plague has passed.

Once at the castle the two men are sent to the dungeons but Francesca is given the royal treatment and provided with grand quarters and fine dresses to wear although she is forbidden to wear her Christian crucifix - for the Prince considers God to be a long dead deity and worships instead a new master - The Devil. He believes his association with Satan will protect his castle from the pestilence of the Red Death. The Prince finds pleasure in his mastery over all and enjoys humiliating the noble men and women in his court forcing them to make abase fools of themselves at his whim. The Prince decides that there will be a Masque costume ball the following day although forbids the wearing of red.

In the dungeons Gino and Ludovico have been trained to fight each other to the death - but they refuse to fight and the matter is decided when Ludovico makes a lunge for the Prince and is killed. The surviving Gino is then ejected from the castle to survive amidst the devastated communities hit by the Red Death. Later, under cover of darkness, Gino climbs back into the castle intent on rescuing Francesca - but on the parapet he meets the stranger in the red robes who tells him to wait there.

The Masque is in full swing and the Prince is pleased with the entertainment until he sees the stranger dressed in crimson and believes it to be a guest who is wearing red against his express command. He follows the stranger into a side room and confronts him but soon realises that he is addressing a supernatural being and believes his Lord Satan has come to personally speak to him. But when the stranger shows his face it is that of Prince Prospero himself and the stranger reveals he is a Messenger of Death who bears the face of the one about to die. Prospero becomes infected with the Red Death as do all the partygoers in the grand hall and everybody dies except for Francesca and Gino who are spared the pestilence because their souls were not corrupt.

The Red Stranger makes his way back to the forest and rejoins his brethren - other Messengers of Death similarly dressed in various different coloured robes as they swap notes on how many they have killed and then move on to another area to harvest.
Comment: There is another plot strand that involves Prospero's jealous consort Juliana making her own secret pact with the Devil to defeat Prospero - although since ultimately Prospero easily thwarts her efforts it doesn't really impact on the overall outcome of the story - so I didn't try to thread it into the above description.
Starring: Vincent Price (as Prince Prospero), Hazel Court (as Juliana), Jane Asher (as Francesca), David Weston (as Gino), Nigel Green (as Ludovico, Francesca's father)
Featuring: Patrick Magee (as Alfredo, party guest), Skip Martin (as Hop Toad, dwarf entertainer)
NOTES:

Based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe.


Massacre in Rome (1973) Previous
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Writers: Robert Katz, George Pan Cosmatos / Director: George Pan Cosmatos / Producer: Carlo Ponti
Type: War Drama Running Time: 99 mins
Set in 1944 in German-occupied Rome during the Second World War. The Germans have a measured military presence in Rome which is under their military control although they allow the Italian politicians to remain in nominal charge of day-to-day governance. General Kurt Maelzer is in overall charge of the German occupation although he is rankled by the need to negotiate compromises with the Italians when he would much prefer to rule with an iron fist. Unfortunately he does not have the manpower at his disposal to enforce such a crackdown because the best troops are needed on the frontline in a war that is going badly. So the best he can do is have a platoon of men march through the streets every day as a show of force.

However, the Italian partisans find any level of German presence provocative and do everything they can to make life difficult for the occupying forces. Their latest deed is to decimate the German platoon by exploding a bomb as the soldiers march past. Thirty-two German soldiers are killed and General Maelzer is incandescent with fury at this outrage. He wants to take immediate retaliatory action by laying waste to a whole city block but he finds that his officers and superiors are wary of taking such disproportionate action. The SS head of security Lt Col Herbert Kappler is mindful that such a response would be viewed as a war crime if Germany were to lose the war which he believes is seeming likely. He counsels that they should adhere to the rules of the Haig Convention which allows fair reprisals to be carried out for actions against occupying forces. Maelzer reluctantly agrees and settles on a figure of 10 Italian executions for every dead German. He gives Kappler the task of compiling the list of the 320 who are to die and then carrying out the executions.

Kappler finds the nature of his task utterly repellent but he has no choice but to accede. In an effort to assuage his guilt he wants to be sure that the list should only contain the names of contemptible men who are already the dregs of Italian society including those in prison convicted of serious crimes. Even then it is hard to find enough names to fill the quota and Kappler is forced to resort to filling up the shortfall with Jews.

An Italian priest called Father Pietro Antonelli becomes involved when the partisans seek sanctuary in his institute. Antonelli goes to see Kappler to try and persuade him to cancel the planned slaughter while he makes an appeal to the Pope to intervene. But Kappler can do nothing - the decision has been made and he is merely a cog in the machine carrying out the orders of his superiors.

Kappler briefs his officers and men about the heinous task they have been handed. The site selected for the executions is in some caves where the limestone will quickly help with the decomposition of the bodies. The executions will be done in an efficient production line manner with each officer being obliged to personally pull the trigger at least once using a handgun to the back of the prisoner's head as they kneel.

Father Antonelli fails to get the Pope to intervene because the Holy Father is concerned about jeopardising ongoing negotiations for the salvation of Rome when the Germans pull out. Father Antonelli feels powerless at his inability to stop the massacre and so he joins the line of condemned men being led into the caves and disposes himself for execution. As it happens Kappler is the one set to deliver the fatal bullet to Antonelli. The priest turns and gives Kappler a long judgemental stare daring him to examine his conscience and refuse to kill him. But Kappler has been put into an impossible situation and has no choice but to pull the trigger and kill the honourable priest.
Comments: The closing narration tells us that the Allies retook Rome ten weeks later and we discover the fates of those involved when they had to answer for their actions. General Maelzer was tried and sentenced to death in 1946 which was commuted and he was imprisoned for life. Lt Col Kappler was tried in 1948 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Starring: Richard Burton (as Lt Col Herbert Kappler, SS Officer), Marcello Mastroianni (as Father Pietro Antonelli, Italian priest), Leo McKern (as General Kurt Maelzer, German)
Featuring: Robert Harris (as Father Pancrazio, senior priest), Delia Boccardo (as Elena, partisan resistance group), Giancarlo Prete (as Paolo, partisan resistance group), John Steiner (as Colonel Dollmann, Kappler's assistant), Anthony Steel (as Major Domizlaf, German), Peter Vaughan (as General Albert Kesselring, German), Renzo Montagnani (as Questore Pietro Caruso, Italian police chief and political leader)
NOTES:

Based upon the book Death in Rome by Robert Katz


A Matter of WHO (1961) Previous
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Writer: Harold Buchman / Director: Don Chaffey / Producer: Walter Shenson, Milton Holmes
Type: Thriller Running Time: 90 mins
Archibald Bannister is a highly motivated investigator who works for the Department of Health in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO). His speciality is tracing the outbreak source of dangerous diseases to prevent epidemics from developing.

When an oil prospector called Cooper comes down with smallpox the race is on to discover where he picked up the infection which has an incubation period of about six weeks. Bannister and his junior colleague Jimmy Jamieson interview his partner Kennedy and new wife Michele. Other reported infections help them pinpoint places where all the infected men might have met six weeks beforehand.

During the course of their globetrotting investigations they uncover a conspiracy in which Cooper was planning to double cross Kennedy with a falsified report showing a dry oil well when in fact it is a rich seam which a corrupt oil investor called Ivonovitch has agreed to buy once the joint stake the partners hold has lapsed. Ivonovitch knew that one of his employees was a smallpox carrier but was willing to suppress that in order to secure the deal. Bannister overcomes the odds to stop Ivonovitch from succeeding with his plans and any further smallpox outbreaks are prevented once the source is decontaminated and all those exposed have been inoculated.
Starring: Terry-Thomas (as Archibald Bannister), Sonja Ziemann (as Michele Cooper), Alex Nicol (as Edward Kennedy), Richard Briers (as Jimmy Jamieson, Bannister's colleague), Honor Blackman (as Sister Sheila Bryan, nurse at London Airport hospital)
Featuring: Guy Deghy (as Nick Ivonovitch, crooked investor), Carol White (as Beryl Ivonovitch, Nick's wife), Clive Morton (as Hatfield, Bannister's boss), Geoffrey Keen (as Foster, Oil Company Chairman), Eduard Linkers (as Linkers, German health official), Martin Benson (as Rahman, oil sheik), Vincent Ball (as Dr Blake, doctor at hospital), Michael Ripper (as Captain of Ivonovitch's private yacht), Cyril Wheeler (as Cooper, Kennedy's business partner, husband of Michele, first smallpox victim)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White

Based on a story by Patricia Lee and Paul Dickson

Richard Briers receives an "introducing" credit

Despite the involvement of Terry-Thomas this is a dramatic film and not a comedy


McVicar (1980) Previous
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Writers: John McVicar, Tom Clegg / Director: Tom Clegg / Producers: Roy Baird, Bill Curbishley, Roger Daltrey
Type: Crime Drama Running Time: 105 -110 mins approx
John McVicar is a touch violent criminal who is currently serving 23 years and has just been transferred to a high security wing. He is openly aggressive to authority and displays a hatred of prison officers but is friendly towards any other prisoners that he considers to be on a similar level to himself, a lot of whom are old friends of his anyway including his most trusted friend Walter Probyn. Most of the prisoners including McVicar are prepared to follow the rules as long as they don't feel too regimented. But when a new governor arrives determined to stick to the letter of a home office directive and tells the prisoners they are to begin wearing prison issue clothing instead of their own trainers and t-shirts and he steadfastly refuses to listen to any compromise, they start a riot and barricade themselves into a prison office until a consideration of a relaxation of these rules in their case is made. The prisoners get their way in this matter but McVicar who was considered a ringleader is given 42 days solitary. Whilst in the prison office McVicar had been able to read the report on him which stated he was a dangerous individual who wouldn't hesitate to kill which he scoffs at because it shows they don't understand him at all.

When McVicar gets out of solitary Probyn tells him he thinks he has found a way out and McVicar who is desperate to escape is only too willing to try. Probyn has noticed a portion of the shower rooms that have been bricked off and suspects a shaft may be on the other side. With two weightlifting prisoners creating a noise for them to mask the chiselling Probyn makes slow but steady progress chiselling through the brickwork and each evening loosely reassembling the bricks and papermâchéing over the area and repainting it to match and give it the look of plaster before resuming the following day.

Eventually they are ready to leave and make their escape bid - the access shaft leads to a disused wing where they are able to make their way up onto the roof and over the walls. The alarm is quickly raised but McVicar manages to evade capture although Probyn is not so lucky. McVicar makes contact with a buddy of his called Joey Davis who puts him up in a safe house for a while until he is ready to be reunited with his wife Sheila and their young son who he has barely seen. McVicar wants to settle down with a normal home life and be a good father to the boy but must continue doing robberies to provide income as he can hardly get a job or collect the dole. His ultimate ambition is to leave the country with his wife and child. (Conclusion to film not known)
Starring: Roger Daltrey (as John McVicar), Adam Faith (as Walter Probyn), Billy Murray (as Joey Davis), Cheryl Campbell (as Sheila McVicar)
Featuring: Georgina Hale (as Kate, safe house girl), Steven Berkoff (as Ronnie Harrison, prisoner), Brian Hall (as Terry Stokes, prisoner), Leonard Gregory (as Jimmy Collins, prisoner)
NOTES:

Based on a book by John McVicar

Opening caption "The prison escape shown in this film is based on true fact. Certain other events and characters have been fictionalised"

The copy reviewed was missing the last 10-20 minutes so the way it ends is not known at present.


Melody (1971) Previous
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Writer: Alan Parker / Director: Waris Hussein / Producer: David Puttnam
Type: Drama Running Time: 106 mins
12-year-old Daniel Latimer's once well-to-do family have fallen on harder times and he now goes to a rough comprehensive school where his lack of street smarts, his angelic naivety and his trusting nature make him easy prey for teasing. His mother maintains her airs and graces and hates to see her lovely son growing up and she tries to shelter and protect him from the harsher side of things as much as possible.

Initially seen as an outsider, Daniel falls in with the loveable class rogue Ornshaw who sticks up for him and helps him to be accepted. However when Daniel sees shy classmate Melody for the first time he instantly falls in love with her. Melody is in the same year as Daniel and Ornshaw and is part of a group of giggling girlfriends who all talk about boys - however both genders are still of the age when actually breaking away from ones own group of friends and becoming friends with someone of the opposite sex seems rather soppy. Melody however sees something in Daniel that appeals to her and they become best friends and start to do everything together - neglecting all their other friends in the process.

Daniel and Melody do not know enough about life to understand relationships properly but they do know that all they want to do is be with each other all the time as each others soul mates - and with adults as their only basis for comparison they assume they need to get married for that wish to be fulfilled - and so they declare to their parents that that's what they want to do. Melody's parents try to tell her she is far too young but she cannot understand why they aren't trying to help her with this rather than tell her why she can't.

At first their classmates tease them mercilessly about all their luvvy-duvvyness but eventually when they see the two are serious the whole class bunks off lessons to visit some wasteground and perform a symbolic betrothal ceremony. And as the teachers mount an effort to round up their errant pupils the two young platonic sweethearts escape off into the distance on their own. THE END
Starring: Mark Lester (as Daniel Latimer), Tracy Hyde (as Melody Perkins), Jack Wild (as Ornshaw), Sheila Steafel (as Mrs Latimer, Daniel's mother), Kate Williams (as Mrs Perkins, Melody's mother), James Cossins (as Headmaster), Ken Jones (as Mr Dicks, schoolteacher)
Featuring: Roy Kinnear (as Mr Reg Perkins, Melody's father), Hilda Barry (as Melody's grandmother), Keith Barron (as Mr Neville Latimer, Daniel's father, uncredited role), June Jago (as Miss Fairfax, schoolteacher), June Ellis (as Miss Dimkins, schoolteacher), John Gorman (as Boys' Brigade Captain)
(Melody's schoolgirl friends) Camille Davies (as Muriel), Dawn Hope (as Maureen), Kay Skinner (as Peggy)
NOTES:

Tracy Hyde receives an "introducing" credit

Keith Barron plays Daniel's father although he is not credited either in the opening or closing credits - he only appears in one main scene but has a significant part with dialogue in that scene.


Memoirs of a Survivor (1981) Previous
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Writers: Kerry Crabbe, David Gladwell / Director: David Gladwell / Producers: Michael Medwin, Penny Clark
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 115 mins
Set in an English city in the aftermath of some sort of war that has devastated the normal infrastructure of society. City dwellers are left to fend for themselves with utility services suspended or sporadic. Rubbish is piled up in the streets and food is scarce leading to scavenging. Looting is rife and law and order is virtually non-existent. Most people nevertheless maintain themselves according to the responsible good order they once knew and continue with their everyday lives as best as they can as they readjust to the diminished amenities. This includes a woman known as "D" who lives in a block of flats. She lives alone and conducts herself in an ordered fashion as she goes about her daily routine of collecting standpipe water and maintaining her day-to-day existence. She is one of the few who still remain in her tower as many other city dwellers have abandoned the area.

One day D hears voices from one of her walls and finds that she can pass through it into a large Victorian mansion which is unoccupied and being decorated. (It is unclear if her transportation is real or just in her imagination - perhaps a sign of encroaching madness?)

Back in the real world D finds herself billeted an evacuee called Emily Cartwright when she and her escort mysteriously turn up out of the blue in her living room. D is given no chance to question the man who delivers her before he is just as mysteriously gone. Emily is a bright and cheerful teenage schoolgirl who is eager to help D around the house.

Meanwhile D continues to explore the mansion (in her mind's eye it sometimes seems) and each time she visits things seems to have moved on a bit until it is furnished and occupied by a family. The young daughter of the family is a 7(ish) year old girl called Emily who always looks a bit sad and appears to be neglected by her parents for being so difficult and demanding. On later visits D finds the house unoccupied and neglected with the place trashed and weeds encroaching into the house.

Meanwhile back in the present Emily takes up with a group of youths and children who have started a commune at an ex-old people's home and live off the land. Their leader is a young man called Gerald who has a kind heart with a willingness to see good in everybody and take them into his small community. Emily joins and becomes his girlfriend and soon finds herself as the mother figure of the group whom all the little ones respect and look up to as she finds herself having to take a firm hand. In contrast, respect for Gerald's authority begins to wane as he starts to make poor choices. His well-meaning open door policy starts to cause problems with more mouths to feed than the community can support.

Several times Emily leaves the group in despair and returns to the security of D's flat and each time she is persuaded back by her new friends to give the community another chance because they need her. Finally Gerald goes too far and brings home a group of ragamuffin young kids that have become like savages living in the underground stations. With no one to look after them they have turned wild and feral but Gerald believes that if they are shown kindness and generosity they can be tamed - but instead they run amok and destroy everything the community has worked so hard to build up.

Emily returns to D's flat with her optimism shattered. Meanwhile D's dreamlike explorations have shown her the idyllic mansion gardens and inside the house a huge egg around which she sees lots of young children playing. She takes this as some sort of sign and shows Emily and Gerald how to get through. Gerald fetches the ragamuffin children and leads them back into the simpler past era where they can live in the bountiful garden - and finally D follows them.
Comment: A lot seems to go unexplained - such as why and how Emily is delivered to D in the first place? Is she supposed to be connected in any way to the child Emily in Victorian times? Is the time portal real or just in D's head (the ending seems to suggest it's real as so many people pass through it).
Starring: Julie Christie (as D), Leonie Mellinger (as Emily Mary Cartwright), Christopher Guard (as Gerald)
Featuring: (Other commune members) Debbie Hutchings (as June), Adrienne Byrne (as Maureen), Marion Owen Smith (as Sandra), Tara MacGowran (as Jill)
(Victorian Family, little more than cameo roles) Nigel Hawthorne (as the Father), Pat Keen (as his Wife), Georgina Griffiths (as Emily, their young daughter, approx 7ish), Ann Tirard (Children's Nanny)
(The White family living in same tower block as D) John Franklyn-Robbins (as The Husband), Rowena Cooper (as His wife), Alison Dowling (as Janet, their teenage daughter)
NOTES:

Leonie Mellinger receives an "introducing" credit.

I'm not all that clear why Julie Christie is billed as "D" in the end credits. I didn't actually hear her being called anything at all, but for the need to call her something in the above description I've used that designation too.

I've classed it as Sci-Fi but it only marginally fits that categorisation. The post-apocalyptic scenario is sci-fi-ish in nature of course and the suggestion of time travel (whether real or just a mad dream) - but neither are played upon in a science fiction film sort of way.


A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968) Previous
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Writer: William Shakespeare / Director: Peter Hall / Producer: Michael Birkett
Type: Drama Running Time: 118 mins
Set in the dukedom of Theseus in Athens in times past in the run up to a wedding between Theseus and his bride-to-be Hippolyta. Nobleman Egeus wishes his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius and he is keen to do so. However Hermia is not so keen for she loves Lysander. But Egeus insists it must be Demetrius and so Hermia and Lysander plan to run off together. Hermia's friend Helena has strong feelings for Demetrius too but feels jaded that he only has eyes for her prettier friend. Helena decides to tell Demetrius about Hermia and Lysander's secret plans to elope hoping he will be grateful to her. This results in all four making their way to the forest grove that night.

The forest is inhabited by the fairy folk on a plane of existence not visible to humans and they use their magic to help the humans with good deeds. Currently fairy king Oberon and fairy queen Titania have fallen out over who should have guardianship of a particular servant boy. Oberon decides to enspell Titania with a potion that will make her fall in love with the first person she sees upon waking - he believes with her attention diverted thus he can appropriate the boy from her.

Oberon's servant Puck sees some actors rehearsing for a play in the woods and is so appalled at the oafish Bottom's performance that he turns the man's head into an ass. Bottom's friends run off in fear and Bottom wanders off. He stumbles across sleeping Titania who awakens and the enchantment makes her fall in love with him. She becomes totally infatuated with Bottom and finds his every utterance enthralling as she dotes upon his every need.

Meanwhile Oberon sees the plight of the four humans and decides to lend a hand by making Demetrius fall in love with Helena using some of the potion. He gives this task to his servant Puck who gets it wrong and makes Lysander fall for Helena instead. Later Demetrius too is enchanted and both men become infatuated by Helena and ignore their previous preference to Hermia. Helena thinks they are all treating her with derision by playing a scornful jest upon her. Hermia too cannot understand the behaviour of either men and the whole situation becomes unbearable with everyone falling out with one another.

Eventually Oberon sees what a mess his servant has made of his good intentions and sends the foursome to sleep so they will wake and believe it was all a dream. When they awaken remnants of the night before remain. Lysander and Hermia love one another once again, but Demetrius now sees Helena in a new light and relinquishes his claim upon Hermia in preference to Helena. The duke decrees that the four of them can marry in a joint celebration with himself and Hippolyta.

Oberon feels sorrow for the humiliation that Titania has suffered with her untiring devotion to the fool Bottom. He releases her from the spell and the two of them make up and become a happy couple once again with all disagreements forgiven and forgotten.

After the wedding when all the humans have retired to their bedchambers the folk of the fairy kingdom arrive to have their own celebrations and to bless the ensuing nuptials of the newly married couples.
Starring: (Fairy folk) Ian Richardson (as Oberon, fairy king), Judi Dench (as Titania, fairy queen), Ian Holm (as Puck, Oberon's servant)
(Humans) Helen Mirren (as Hermia, daughter of Egeus), Michael Jayston (as Demetrius, Hermia's fiancé), David Warner (as Lysander, Helena's preferred choice), Diana Rigg (as Helena, Hermia's friend), Paul Rogers (as Bottom, village actor)
Featuring: Derek Godfrey (as Theseus, the duke), Barbara Jefford (as Hippolyta, the duchess), Nicholas Selby (as Egeus, Hermia's father), Hugh Sullivan (as Philostrate, duke's servant)
(other village actors) Sebastian Shaw (as Peter Quince), Bill Travers (as Tom Snout), Clive Swift (as Snug), Donald Eccles (as Robin Starveling), John Normington (as Francis Flute)


The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) Previous
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Writers: John Hale, Edward Simpson / Director: Alan Cooke / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 92 mins
The Midland Institute of Neurophysiological Research specialises in patients with problems associated with the brain. For the past 30 years they have been in guardianship of John Soames, a patient who was in a coma when he was born and has never woken up due to damage to the sleep centres of his brain. He has been fed intravenously and his muscles regularly massaged to prevent atrophy and has grown into adulthood totally asleep. Medical advances have now reached a stage where a neurosurgeon from America called Dr Michael Bergen has agreed to perform a procedure on his brain to correct the fault that prevents his mind achieving consciousness. There is intense media interest in the story and the operation is carried on live-TV with the enthusiastic reporter providing viewers with a running commentary of the events.

The operation is a success and soon afterwards Soames awakens for the first time ever. However, his mind is that of a baby and the institute director, Dr Maitland, has devised a learning schedule for him to be educated with the basics of speech and comprehension. Soames is a quick learner but can become petulant and Dr Bergen realises that Maitland is too regimented in his approach and hasn't allowed any time for Soames to have fun.

So Bergen introduces games into his learning and Soames begins to become more motivated, gaining a sense of wonder and interest in the outside world. Bergen lets him go into the institute's grounds to see what the outside is like but Maitland panics when he finds out and sends the orderlies to drag Soames back to his ward where he can be safe. Soames begins to feel like a prisoner and he makes a bid for freedom and manages to escape the institute's grounds and get into town.

But in town as he begins his adventure of discovery, his keenness to learn and make friends is misunderstood by people who see only the body of a grown man behaving in an odd way and talking like a simpleton and Soames is made to feel unwelcome. Wandering around he eventually boards a train to a place called London which he has read about in his story books. But his attempts to talk to the woman in the carriage and display his simplistic understanding of things cause her to overreact and misconstrue his overtures of friendship for the start of an assault by a deranged lunatic and she pulls the emergency cord.

Soames flees the train and hides in a nearby barn alone and afraid. Eventually the police locate him and Dr Bergen manages to persuade him to come out of hiding and he is taken back to the institute and seems to be happy to be headed for safe and secure surroundings again.
Comment: There is no finality in the film's ending either tragic or happy and one assumes Soames returns to the institute to carry on as before.
Starring: Terence Stamp (as John Soames), Robert Vaughn (as Dr Michael Bergen), Nigel Davenport (as Dr Maitland), Donal Donnelly (as Dr Joseph Allan)
Featuring: Christian Roberts (as Thomas Fleming, TV reporter), Dan Jackson and Norman Jones (as Soames' nurse orderlies)
Familiar Faces: Christopher Timothy (minor uncredited speaking part as TV Crew camera operator)
Starlets: Judy Parfitt, Vickery Turner, Pamela Moseiwitsch, Kate Binchy
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Charles Eric Maine

Although classified as Sci-Fi it is only very borderline into that genre and is a mainly a thematic drama that sounds a bit science fiction-y in concept but isn't beyond reason.


Minikillers (1969) Previous
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Writers: W v Chmielewski, M v Chmielewski / Director: W v Chmielewski / Producers: H G Luchel, D Nettemann
Type: European / Action Running Time: 28 mins (in total)
Part 1 - Operation Costa Brava
A woman (Diana Rigg) is on holiday in Spain sunbathing at a resort by a hotel pool. The area is under surveillance by some baddies and their boss has a pocket watch which is a remote control device that operates the different functions of a walking doll depending on the time the watch is set to. The doll walks up to a man by the pool who picks it up thinking it is a cute novelty - then the baddie clicks the watch and the doll's tear ducts spray a deadly liquid into the man's face and he dies. The woman sees the events unfold and picks up the doll and takes it back to her room before the boss's bald henchman can retrieve it. When he tries to get it she fights with him and he drops the stopwatch before getting away. She examines the watch but cannot fathom its function and pockets it.

Part 2 - Heroin
The woman is sunbathing on a cove when she suddenly notices that all the other holidaymakers are shop window manikins. Then an offshore yacht, from where the boss has her under surveillance, starts pulling in a net which was placed under the sand on the beach trapping her as it is dragged towards the boat. But she has managed to escape and boards the yacht stealthily on the opposite seaward side where she goes into the cabin and discovers a hit list of victims including the man who was earlier murdered. The vessel returns to port and after another fight she gets off and escapes.

Part 3 - Macabre
The villains are still observing the woman and put a doll in her car with explosives inside it. She spots it just in time and throws it out and has another fight with the bald thug defeating him again. She gets an invite to a villa but it is a trap and after another fight she gets away again.

Part 4 - Flamenco
The woman attends a nightclub where a flamenco dancer who was on the hit list is performing. After his act she goes backstage to see him. But she is chloroformed and when she wakes up she finds herself in a timed death-trap with a heavy slab coming down slowly towards her - she manages to escape by jamming her ring into the mechanism. She goes back to the dancer's room but finds he has now been murdered. She finds a secret room in his dressing room containing many boxes of the dolls. She gets out the watch she pocketed earlier on (in part 1) and tries to work out how the doll is controlled but nothing she does seems to be having any effect. In the next room the boss is making a final effort to rid himself of her and is preparing another doll with deadly liquid to send after her. But as he finishes his work and looks at the doll's face the woman's pocketwatch device in the next room unexpectedly activates it and it sprays him with the deadly liquid and he dies. The police arrive to arrest all the thug henchmen.
Starring: Diana Rigg
Featuring: José Nieto, Jack Rocha, H Coscollin, Mme Million, El Sali
NOTES:

This is a short dialogue-less film made in Spain. It is reviewed here only because of the starring role for Diana Rigg. The story is split into four episodes with the opening credits repeated (over the action) at the start of each part. Each instalment lasts about 7 minutes. The instalment titles are not seen on screen - they are taken from photos seen of the Super-8 film packaging that the films were distributed in.

Another even shorter dialogue-less film also starring Diana Rigg is Diadem (1966).


Miracles Still Happen (1974) Previous
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Writer/Director: Giuseppe Scotese / Producer: Ninki Maslansky
Type: European / Adventure Running Time: 86 mins
A 17-year-old girl called Juliane Koepcke is on holiday with her mother Maria just before Christmas in 1971. They are in Lima, Peru on Christmas Eve and are due to travel to some friends over Christmas before travelling on to be with Juliane's father elsewhere in the country. The airline they were due to travel with has technical problems and so they are forced to travel with Las Aereas Nacionales S.A. (Lansa) which they were warned not to use by Mr Koepcke due to its unreliable safety record.

The route takes them over the Amazon jungle area and the small passenger aircraft meets with heavy turbulence as a severe cyclone hits. The plane breaks up thousands of feet in mid-air - but by some fluke Juliane falls to the ground remaining seated in her intact plane seat with her ground impact being cushioned by the tree canopy and she survives with just some small scratch wounds.

The authorities mount a search on the ground and from the air but with the vast area to cover and the dense foliage it is an almost impossible task. Juliane knows she is hopelessly lost but recalls one important tip her botanist father once gave her were she ever to be lost in the jungle:- find a water course, however small, and follow it down stream and it will eventually join with larger and larger waterways until it meets with the main river - and somewhere along the river there will be people. Juliane struggles on hoping to find other crash survivors, in particular her mother, but finds no one. Days go by as she doggedly keeps to her plan and comes to larger waterways - but she is starting to make slower progress as she becomes weaker with nothing to eat and unable to get any proper sleep at night amidst the terrifying noises of the unseen jungle nightlife in the pitch black.

After seven days with no news Juliane's father has given up hope as he knows the harsh conditions of the jungle would have made survival impossible even if anyone had survived the initial crash. However Juliane has surpassed these expectations and keeps struggling on for days with no food and becoming increasingly weak. Often near to giving up she gets to the main river and is able to get into the water and use the current to help her along. After ten days alone she is making slower and slower progress but is still nowhere near civilisation and she is on the verge of complete exhaustion - then while stopped on the opposite bank for a rest she has the incredible good fortune to spot the boat of a party of three local woodcutters who take her back to civilisation.

She was the only survivor of Lansa flight 508 and both her initial survival and her subsequent escape from the jungle are considered miracles.
Starring: Susan Penhaligon (as Juliane Koepcke)
Featuring: Paul Muller (as Juliane's Father), Graziella Galvani (as Juliane's Mother)
NOTES:

This film is based on the true story of Juliane Koepcke. The parts of Juliane and her parents and the doomed passengers and crew of Flight 508 are played by actors but a lot of the other parts, such as a search plane pilot and native woodcutters are played by the actual people who were involved in the real life events.

This is an Italian film with the original title of I Miracoli accadono ancora. It is reviewed here because of the starring role for British actress Susan Penhaligan. The version reviewed was titled as per this entry and was dubbed into English.


El Miron (1977) Previous
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Writer: Isabel Mula / Director: J R Larraz / Producer: José María Cunillés
Type: Drama Running Time: 95 mins
The version of the film reviewed was in its original Spanish with no subtitles. Unfortunately it is a very talky domestic drama kind of film and did not seem to be a plot-driven piece and therefore I was not able to glean any sort of reliable insight into what the "story" was actually about from watching the visuals alone.

Vague Summary: It was about a man called Roman who has an ongoing tempestuous relationship with his beautiful wife Elena. He has a well-paid job and they are comfortably off living in a luxury penthouse apartment. Roman knows how attractive his wife is to other men and gets jealous imagining she is having affairs (even though she is not). Eventually his suspicions lead to a breakdown of their relationship and she ends up actually having an affair with a young neighbour. By the end Roman and Elena seem to reconcile.

Final Comment: The above is a very loose summary of what seemed to be occurring - but there was so much chat, argumentative discussions and agonising involved that it felt as if there must have been something a bit more complex going on that eluded me because of the language barrier.
Starring: Héctor Alterio (as Roman, husband), Alexandra Bastedo (as Elena, wife)
Featuring: Aurora Bautista (as Olga), Carlos Ballesteros (as Alvaro), Pep Munné (as Rafa), Aurora Redondo (as Madre, Roman's elderly mother), Ines Morales (as Ella), Jose Fernandez (as Limplabotas), Ana Frigola (as Elvira, Roman and Elena's maid)
NOTES:

This Spanish film has been reviewed here because of the participation of the British actress Alexandra Bastedo who was a lead co-star in the 1960s series The Champions. The end credits include the character's names - however other than Roman, Elena and a couple of others I did not manage to establish who was who out of the other names in order to specify their role in the story.


Mistress Pamela (1974) Previous
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Writer/Director/Producer: Jim O'Connolly
Type: Period Drama Running Time: 91 mins
Set in 16th century Bedfordshire where Lord Robert Devonish is the young master of Devonish Hall. Heading home one day he gives a lift in his carriage to a young lass who is making her way to his Devonish estate to take up service. Her name is Pamela Andrews and she is 14 years old and is accompanied by her father for the long walk from their village. They are a poor family and Mr Andrews has five other younger daughters to clothe and feed and with no work going in their village it has become necessary for Pamela to obtain a position far from home. Mr Andrews has instilled in his daughter a wholesome moral outlook and has made her promise to be a good girl and to not dishonour the family by allowing any misfortune to befall her - for if a girl loses her honour she loses everything and ends up in misery. Pamela promises to her father that she will never bring shame on the family and he departs for home.

Lord Robert finds Pamela an extremely personable young wench and instructs his butler Jonathan to give her a position as his mother's personal maid and makes it clear to the butler that he intends to bed this girl when she is a bit older and makes it Jonathan's responsibly to ensure that her virtue is preserved for when he returns from doing his patriotic duty fighting abroad for the king.

Knowing how loose most maids are Jonathan realises how difficult his task is going to be and that his job is on the line if Pamela loses her maidenhead before the Lord is ready to bed her and so he enlists the aid of Mrs Jelks the housekeeper to keep an eye on the girl at night by having Pamela share her bed. Mrs Jelks is not altogether displeased with this idea because she is particularly against men finding them foul disgusting creatures and much prefers the softness of her fellow woman. Pamela's conditions of employment are that she will receive food and lodging but no pay for four years after which she will receive one guinea a year. She can have one afternoon off each month. She finds this a most generous offer.

Five years pass without incident whilst Lord Robert is away soldiering abroad until he is called back by the death of his mother. Pamela is now a young woman and has been the loyal and devoted maidservant to his mother who had enjoyed Pamela's company and taught her to read and write. Lord Robert generously gives her four gold pieces in reward for her loyal devotion to his mother. Seeing her anew and as a grown woman Lord Robert realises he has been overcome by a curious feeling that overwhelms his senses - he thinks at first it might be love but conventions force him to rationalise it as desire because one can only have love for someone one respects and one cannot have respect for a servant. Nevertheless he needs to rid himself of the fever that has overcome him and calculates that her body is the antidote and that on the morrow she will begin his treatment!

But Pamela is not to be so easily bedded and when advised of what the master's intentions on her must surely be in return for his show of generosity she declares he will be unlucky for the road to her bed is via the church. When Robert tries to kiss her by a river she makes steadfast that her right as a woman to refuse him overrides any privileges he may have as her master.

With this unexpected set-back Robert visits his friend Sir Percy who has taken woman-bedding to a fine art and advises Robert that any tactic short of actual rape is fair game in the pursuit of a woman - any tricks, deceits or lies are acceptable measures if they achieve the intended objective of bagging the quarry.

To get Pamela alone again Robert asks her to come and help him sort out his late mother's clothing and then instructs her to try some of the clothing on - he makes her a proposition of setting her up in a plush London home with an annual allowance for both her and her poor father. But Pamela knows just what he is suggesting and has no wish to be his whore. They have a tussle and her dress accidentally comes off and he tries his luck pushing her onto the bed - but Mrs Jelks who was listening at the door rushes in to the rescue and bonks Lord Robert over the head.

Mrs Jelks is locked up and Lord Robert is bedridden although feigning his suffering worse than it is. Mrs Jelks is destined for prison for her actions but Pamela comes to Robert's bedside to plead for clemency. Robert has no intention of being lenient until he recalls Sir Percy's words and tells Pamela that only if she shares his bed will he pardon the housekeeper's actions. Pamela is furious at this undue pressure being brought upon her but cannot bear to think of poor Mrs Jelks having 10 years in prison for just trying to protect her - so she reluctantly agrees. When the time comes to sleep with him she was going to go through with it but then as she's pouring them both a night-cap an opportunity to avert the situation arises as she spots his medicinal sleeping draught and laces his Madeira with it. After they have had the drinks she gets into bed with him but he soon falls asleep before he has a chance to really do anything. But then laying in bed with his sleeping form Pamela realises she does actually love him - but what's the use of that for a master can never marry a servant and it is a mistresses life at best for her which she could never tolerate.

So Pamela hands in her notice to quit the household although Robert withholds permission until he is ready to let her leave. He then departs for business in London. Some days later a carriage arrives with a letter from Robert which tells her she can go with good references and the carriage is to take her home. Robert's generosity surprises her but Pamela avails herself of the transport - but the carriage does not take her home - instead it takes her to Lord Robert's other residency in Lincolnshire where she is to be kept until he arrives. Lord Robert arrives in the night and tries to take her by force but she resists and locks herself in the bedroom - refusing to come out or take food for days for his foul actions.

Eventually Robert sends a parson to her to mediate who tells her that Lord Robert has agreed to marry her. If she accepts his proposal the parson will obtain a licence from the bishop to conduct the private ceremony in this very house. Pamela is so happy that all her best dreams have come true and she agrees and they get married that very day - and consummate their marriage that night.

Pamela wakes the next morning a happy woman and finds that Robert has already got up and so she goes downstairs to find where he is. Then her world shatters as she overhears the "parson" demanding more money from Robert since impersonating a clergyman in a bogus marriage ceremony and forging a marriage licence are serious crimes. Pamela rushes out of the house crying at the vile betrayal that has befallen her. When Robert discovers her missing he sees she has left the ring and realises she must have found out what he did. He does truly love her though and immediately goes out looking for her.

He searches in vain for a week and returns to his Bedfordshire home a broken man where he refuses all food for another three days until word comes that a girl matching Pamela's description has been spotted working at a farm. Robert rides to check and it is Pamela - he begs forgiveness for what he did and promises he will truly wed her and this time - she believes him and they ride off together towards a church. THE END.
Starring: Ann Michelle (as Pamela Andrews), Julian Barnes (as Lord Robert Devenish), Dudley Foster (as Jonathan, butler), Anna Quayle (as Mrs Jelks, housekeeper)
Featuring: Anthony Sharp (as Longman, estate manager), Rosemarie Dunham (as Mistress Blimper), Derek Fowlds (as Sir Percy, Robert's friend), Fredric Abbott (as John Andrews, Pamela's father), Ken Parry (as The Parson)
NOTES:

Opening caption:- This film is based on the first dramatic novel written in the English language entitled "Pamela" by Samuel Richardson. The novel was published in 1740 in the hope that it would cultivate the principles of virtue and prudence in the minds of the youth of both sexes.


Modesty Blaise (1966) Previous
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Writer: Evan Jones / Director: Joseph Losey / Producer: Joseph Janni
Type: Crime Comedy Running Time: 119 mins
The British government is attempting to deliver a £50million consignment of diamonds to an Arab sheik in return for an oil concession, but unfortunately their efforts are being thwarted by a criminal outfit intent on discovering the delivery route and obtaining the diamond for themselves. Several good agents have been killed trying to outwit the criminals and the intelligence services decide that the only alternative left to them is to call in super-agent Modesty Blaise.

Modesty Blaise is a former malefactor herself and so has inside knowledge of the criminal mind. But she is a loose cannon with an unpredictable nature so Intelligence chief Sir Gerald Tarrant proposes to use her with care. Modesty is briefed on the job and calls in her loyal sidekick Willie Garvin to help her. Her job is to use her underworld connections to find out who is trying to steal the diamond shipment.

All the indications that Modesty can see point towards the criminal mastermind being her former partner-in-crime Gabriel - but he is supposed to be dead! In fact Gabriel is still alive and living on a fortified island from where he is coordinating his efforts to get hold of those diamonds.

Tarrant has not told Modesty the whole truth and is using her as a diversion to keep their adversary's attention occupied while an Air Force jet is sent to make the delivery drop. But Gabriel is aware of this and has constructed a rocket missile which intercepts the plane and forces it to crash. Tarrant is pleased because this was a blind which the criminal leader has clearly fallen for and will now waste time hunting for the diamonds in the wreckage. However Gabriel knew it was a decoy but shot the plane down anyway so it would look like he had fallen for it and put the British off their guard.

The real route is by sea in the ship Tyboria locked in a strong room. Gabriel knows this and has plans to enter the strong room by cutting into the hull from underwater but he needs an expert who happens to be Modesty Blaise's partner Willie Garvin. So he kidnaps the two of them and forces Willie to comply to save Modesty's life.

Willie cooperates in the underwater operation and the diamonds are seized. Then Gabriel returns to his island and puts Modesty and Willie in separate cells. He still has affection for Modesty and offers her a half-share if she will become his partner-in-crime once again - together they would be an unbeatable combination that could achieve anything. Modesty declines and is returned to her cell.

Modesty manages to escape by seducing a guard and she frees Willie. Together they steal back the diamonds and radio to the Arab sheik for help. Before they can get off the island the alarm is raised and Gabriel's men have the pair pinned down on the rocks in an impossible situation. But just in time the sheik's fighting forces arrive in their hundreds and overpower Gabriel's defences and take the island. Modesty and Willie are saved and the sheik has his diamonds and everyone is happy except Gabriel who is now prisoner of the sheik.
Starring: Monica Vitti (as Modesty Blaise), Terence Stamp (as Willie Garvin), Dirk Bogarde (as Gabriel), Harry Andrews (as Sir Gerald Tarrant, secret service chief), Michael Craig (as Paul, intelligence agent)
Featuring: Clive Revill (as McWhirter, Gabriel's accountant; and Sheik Abu Tahir, [two unconnected roles]), Rosella Falk (as Mrs Clara Fothergill, killer, Gabriel's ally), Silvan (as The Great Pacco, magician, agent of Gabriel), Scilla Gabel (as Melina, Pacco's stage assistant), Tina Marquand (as Nicole, Pacco's stage assistant, [aka Tina Aumont]), Michael Chow (as Weng, Modesty's Chinese servant)
NOTES:

From an original story by Peter O'Donnell and Stanley Dubens; based on the strip cartoon appearing in the Evening Standard by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway.


The Molly Maguires (1970) Previous
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Writer: Walter Bernstein / Director: Martin Ritt / Producers: Martin Ritt, Walter Bernstein
Type: Drama Running Time: 119 mins
Set in Pennsylvania in 1876 in the mining town of Schuylkill which is populated mostly by Irish emigrants who work the coalmines. The work is tough but the mine owners are disinclined to improve the oppressive working conditions and they even deduct from the miners' wages the costs of the materials they use to do the job, such as blasting powder. The miners have a legal collective called the Hibernians which is supposed to lobby for better rights but they are largely unsuccessful at effecting change from the intransigent owners even via strikes. So a secret subgroup of Hibernian miners emerged resolved to take action by committing disruptive sabotage and by terrorising mine superintendents. This gang of insurgents call themselves the Molly Maguires named after a secret terrorist group in Ireland from the 1840s. Their intention is to create such a nuisance for the owners that they will bow under the pressure and comply with their employees' demands for improved working practices.

The owners are determined to smash the resistance and police chief Captain Davies is tasked with that challenge. Davies recruits a detective called James McParlan who is himself an Irish emigrant and will be able to blend in more readily than could an American agent. McParlan will have to gain full acceptance by becoming a miner and living and working as they do. His orders are to ally himself with the suspected ringleaders and gain their trust until he is recruited into the Molly Maguires and able to learn of their plans and targets. It is not enough to simply know who the leaders and members are because the close-knit community is adept at providing alibis whenever criminal acts are carried out. The only sure proof that can be used to convict the activists is to catch them in the act. And with the ringleaders put away the campaign of resistance will inevitably falter.

James proceeds to achieve his initial objectives and becomes a trusted member of the group. Their leader is Jack Kehoe and James feels sympathy with Kehoe's well-intended cause to improve the oppressive conditions his compatriots are forced to work under - James knows first hand how tough it is while working alongside them in the mines. James feels conflicted between his empathy with their objectives and his duty as a law agent and he tries several times to talk Kehoe out of committing further acts of disruption by pointing out difficulties involved. His thinking is that if Kehoe commits no further outrages then he cannot be caught in the act. But what Kehoe and his gang are doing is unlawful and James knows his first duty is to uphold the law. So when Kehoe plans his next major act of destruction at the colliery, James informs Captain Davies and the peelers are waiting to arrest Kehoe and his accomplices when they arrive to set the explosive charges.

The Molly Maguires are tried and given a death sentence for their involvement in the murder of a mine official and James' evidence helped to convict them.
Comment: There is a subplot involving an emerging romance between James and the young landlady of his lodgings house. She falls for him but spurns him at the end when she discovers he was an undercover policeman all the time.
Starring: Richard Harris (as Detective James McParlan), Sean Connery (as Jack Kehoe, leader of the Molly Maguires), Samantha Eggar (as Mary Raines, young landlady), Frank Finlay (as Captain Davies)
Featuring: (Molly Maguires) Anthony Zerbe (as Tom Dougherty), Art Lund (as Frazier), Anthony Costello (as Frank McAndrew)
Brendan Dillon (as Dan Raines, Mary's Father), Philip Bourneuf (as Father O'Connor), Bethel Leslie (as Mrs Kehoe, Jack's wife)
NOTES:

Suggested by a book by Arthur H. Lewis

The story of the Pennsylvanian Molly Maguires and their efforts to achieve better working conditions through violent acts is true. It’s not entirely clear if the characters in the film are inventions but the organisation itself ceased to function around the time the film was set and so this film presumably charts its successful demise.


Monique (1969) Previous
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Writer/Director: John Bown / Producer: Michael Style
Type: Drama Running Time: 84 mins
Married with two small children, housewife Jean is frustrated and bored being at home all day for the last five years and feels trapped. She convinces her husband Bill that they should get in an Au-Pair to look after the children and then she could go back to work.

French au-pair Monique duly arrives and proves a big hit - she is kind and loving to the children and she and Jean become firm friends. Bill too has been frustrated of late because Jean seems disinterested in sex and only agrees now and again out of duty but seems to receive no pleasure from it. One night with Jean asleep in the next room Bill makes a pass at Monique and they sleep together.

Monique has become like one of the family and starts to get very close to Jean also and when Bill goes to bed early one evening leaving the two women alone together, something goes on between them that leaves Jean very flushed and when she goes to bed she is feeling very frisky and wakes up her husband.

One day Bill arrives home unexpectedly and finds Jean and Monique naked together in a passionate embrace. He feels embarrassment more than anger at having caught them. Both of them know that the other has slept with Monique and an awkward silence falls between them at dinnertime which is saved by Monique who makes a pass at each of them directly in front of the other and leads Jean upstairs making it clear that Bill can join them. He does so and they have a mutually satisfying ménage-à-trois.

When it is time for Monique to go home she leaves the couple's sexual relationship newly re-invigorated and healthy.
Comment: It's a good drama although it is flawed in the casting of Monique. She looks too weather-worn to pass for a teenager (which presumably she's meant to be as an au-pair - although no age is ever stated) and appears more in her late twenties than late teens - her acting is fine but she doesn't exude the necessary sex appeal to completely validate the impact she has on the husband and wife therefore it requires more suspension of disbelief on the viewer's part than should be needed to enjoy the story.
Starring: David Sumner (as Bill, the Husband), Joan Alcorn (as Jean, the Wife), Sibylla Kay (as Monique, the Au-Pair)
Starlets: Carolanne Hawkins, Davilia O'Connor


The Monster Club (1980) Previous
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Writers: Edward and Valerie Abraham / Director: Roy Ward Baker / Producer: Milton Subotsky
Type: Anthology / Horror Running Time: 93 mins
When horror author R. Chetwynd-Hayes is attacked in the street by a vampire called Eramus he thinks his number is up. But after the bloodsucker has had his feed he becomes apologetic and genial. And furthermore when Eramus discovers who his esteemed victim is he professes to being a huge fan of his books and offers to make amends by taking the author to his favourite club where he might get some ideas for his next book. The Monster Club is where all the supernatural creatures hang out and dance to bands performing ghoulish songs. Between the music Chetwynd-Hayes is entertained with some chilling stories...

Story 1 - Shadmock Story
George and his girlfriend Angela are struggling to make ends meet and are looking for ways to make some easy money even if that means breaking the law. George spots a classified advert placed by someone requiring help cataloguing his collection of antiques and suggests Angela apply so she can see if there is anything worth stealing. The job is at a large and remote manor house owned by a recluse called Mr Raven. He has very gaunt features which he is well aware frighten most people and at first he makes Angela feel very nervous. But he turns out to be a sensitive and considerate man who avoids company because of the danger he presents to others if he is provoked towards anger. He never goes out and keeps all his money in his safe. Angela feels very sorry for him being so lonely and as the weeks go by working alongside him she becomes fond of him. Angela tells George she can't take advantage of Mr Raven because he is so sad a figure and it would feel wrong to betray his trust. But George insists she discover the combination to his safe and steal his money. Mr Raven has fallen in love with Angela and asks her to marry him and she agrees which makes Mr Raven so happy and proud. But then on the day of their wedding he catches her opening his safe and trying to take the money and he loses his self-control and becomes angry. He is a Shadmock, a mongrel result of many generations of interbreeding between vampires, werewolves and ghouls, who possesses a devastating power. When a Shadmock whistles, the sound is so ultrasonically powerful it can burn, which is why he avoids outside contact in case he accidentally unleashes it. But now in his shock fury at Angela's base betrayal he directs his whistle at her and melts away her features into a misshapen glob. Angela returns home to George and when he sees her face he goes mad and is locked up in a psychiatric hospital.

Story 2 - Vampire Story
A schoolboy called Lintom Busotsky lives with his mother and father in a secluded house. His family come from central Europe but fled to England due to persecution although Lintom is unclear about all the details except he knows that his family have noble blood. Lintom loves his kind father but rarely sees him because he works during the night and sleeps during the day. His father sleeps in the cellar and Lintom is not allowed to go down there. Only at dusk does Lintom see his father when he emerges from the cellar and gets ready to go out to work. His father is a devoted family man who adores his wife and son. Lintom's mother stresses to Lintom the importance of not telling anyone at school about their unusual arrangements. At school Lintom is shy and he is always being bullied. A passing clergyman sees this and befriends Lintom who lets slip some of the details of his unusual home life. The clergyman is actually Mr Pickering who is chief vampire hunter of the B-Squad, a special unit dedicated to eradicating the curse of vampirism. Lintom's information is just what Pickering was after and later on with his two colleagues, Mooney and Watson, he forces his way into Lintom's house to deal with this particular vampire whom he has been after for ages. Pickering goes down into the cellar and stakes the vampire where he sleeps defenceless in his coffin. Lintom and his mother are devastated by their loss but Pickering is triumphant - but then the father suddenly reaches up and bites Pickering before collapsing back into the coffin. Pickering turns into a vampire and his men have no choice but to eradicate him. After the intruders have gone Lintom's father sits up alive and well and reveals that he had been wearing a stake-proof vest as a safety precaution against this very possibility and the family continue on with their happy life.

Story 3 - Humgoo Story
Sam is an American film director working in England filming scenes for his latest horror flick. Later scenes require an eerie atmospheric village but the location scout has drawn a blank, so Sam decides to go out looking for himself. A few miles off a busy motorway he sees a sign to a village called Loughville and decides to check it out. He passes through dense mist and then arrives in a village that seems perfect for his needs. He looks around for someone to ask for permission to film but the village is curiously deserted except at the tavern where he meets the landlord who is dressed in tattered rags. The peculiar looking man tells him he needs to speak to the Elders about his request - they run the village. Sam wants to leave but is told it wouldn't be safe and he finds that dozens of similarly dressed villagers have now appeared blocking his way with sinister intent. Sam is ushered to a room and locked in and it seems to him he has become a prisoner. He has his food brought into him by a young woman called Luna. She too is dressed in rags but looks more normal than the others and has no air of menace about her. She is the landlord's daughter and she asks him curious questions about "the outside world" which he finds bizarre since it is all only a few miles from here. She tells him no one ever comes here and no one ever leaves. Their clothes all come from boxes in the ground and when she points outside towards the church graveyard, Sam realises she means coffins and the garments they wear come from the dead. Sam offers to take her to see the outside world if she helps him escape. She agrees and tells him to run to the church where her people cannot follow because they are ghouls. Only she can enter safely because her mother was a human which makes her a Humgoo. Sam gets into the church and finds he can ward off the bloodthirsty ghouls with a crucifix. He finds an old book from centuries past which describes how the evil ghouls arrived and took over this village and killed everyone. Luna joins Sam and warns that the Elders will be here soon and they will not be deterred by religious symbols. Sam decides they must make a run for it. He and Luna flee followed closely by the baying ghouls who use slingshots to try and down them. Luna is hit and dies and so Sam continues on alone. He makes it to the motorway and safety. He flags down a passing police car and tells them what has happened. He gets in so they can drive him to safety but instead they drive him right back into the village - because unfortunately these policemen are also ghouls who are escorting the Elders back to the village and Sam is trapped with no possibility of escape.

Frame: Chetwynd-Hayes is ready to leave but Eramus insists he must become a member. The club secretary argues that the human is not a monster, but Eramus counters that Humans are the masters of destruction and use all manner of ingenuous devices to kill one another all over the world and what could be more monstrous than that? So Chetwynd-Hayes is welcomed as a valuable new member.
Starring: (Frame) Vincent Price (as Eramus, vampire), John Carradine (as R. Chetwynd-Hayes, horror author)
(Story 1) Barbara Kellerman (as Angela Jones), Simon Ward (as George, Angela's boyfriend), James Laurenson (as Mr Raven, the Shadmock)
(Story 2) Donald Pleasence (as Pickering, B-Squad leader), Richard Johnson (as Lintom's father), Britt Ekland (as Lintom's Mother), Warren Saire (as Lintom as a boy), (Story 3) Stuart Whitman (as Sam, movie director), Lesley Dunlop (as Luna, Humgoo), Patrick Magee (as Luna's father)
Featuring: Anthony Steel (as Lintom Busotsky, Film Producer, [frame]), Roger Sloman (as Werewolf Club Secretary, [frame]), Geoffrey Bayldon (as Psychiatrist, story 1), Anthony Valentine (as Mooney, B-Squad member, story 2), Neil McCarthy (as Watson, B-Squad Member, story 2), Prentis Hancock (as Policeman, story 3, [uncredited])
Starlets: Suzanna Willis (as Stripper, [frame])
NOTES:

Based on the novel by R. Chetwynd-Hayes (although this is the name of the novelist character in the framing sequence so it might be a spoof credit).

There were full musical performances from The Viewers, B.A. Robertson, Night, and The Pretty Things, all singing ghoul-themed songs.


Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969) Previous
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Writers: Jack Davies, Ken Annakin / Director/Producer: Ken Annakin
Type: Comedy Running Time: 119 mins
Set in the 1920s. The Monte Carlo Automobile Rally is a prestigious event which attracts the best drivers in the world hoping to prove themselves in the gruelling 1500 mile endurance race across Europe. We follow the stories of the drivers and passengers of six competing vehicles:-
  • Army officer and inventor Major Digby Dawlish and his friend Lieutenant Kit Barrington who hope to use the rally as a showcase for all the innovative gadgetry they have invented and become millionaires. Unfortunately their gadgets don't prove as successful as they had hoped.
  • The unscrupulous Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage who has inherited a car-making company from his late father and wants to cash in. But it is half-owned by an American called Chester Schofield who wants to develop innovative new cars with the profits. They agree to race in the rally and whichever of them beats the other takes over the company. However Sir Cuthbert does not intend to fight fairly and has a multitude of dirty tricks up his sleeve to make sure he will win the race. This includes blackmailing his niece Betty into hitching a lift with Chester and delay his progress with her scatty charm - but Sir Cuthbert didn't reckon on Betty and Chester falling in love.
  • A German criminal who is recruited by a Count to use the race to smuggle some stolen jewels out of the country inside their spare tyre.
  • Two excitable Italian policemen who have a dream of winning the rally and becoming world famous motor racing drivers.
  • Three young female medics who use their womanly charms to get the rules changed to allow them to enter and become the first ever lady contestants in a bid to further the cause for female emancipation - and have a good jolly time into the bargain.
Numerous incidents occur as the various main competitors make their way to the finish. At the end it seems that Sir Cuthbert has beaten Chester but then it is discovered that Sir Cuthbert cheated and is disqualified when he is found in possession of the stolen jewels that he unknowingly took when he stole the spare tyre from the German's vehicle to replace one he lost - and so Chester wins their particular competition and Chester and Betty get married.
Starring: (race competitors)
Peter Cook (as Major Digby Dawlish), Dudley Moore (as Lt Kit Barrington)
Terry-Thomas (as Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage), Eric Sykes (as Perkins, his employee)
Tony Curtis (as Chester Schofield), Susan Hampshire (as Betty)
Gert Fröbe and Peer Schmidt (as German smugglers)
Lando Buzzanca and Marcello Agosti (as Competing Italian policemen)
Mireille Darc, Marie Dubois and Nicoletta Machiavelli (as Female competitors)
Featuring: Jack Hawkins (as Count Levinovitch, criminal), Derren Nesbitt (as Levinovitch's cohort)
Familiar Faces: Hattie Jacques (as Journalist), William Rushton (as Race starter), Richard Wattis (as Golf Club official)
NOTES:

This is a semi-sequel to Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965). In that Terry Thomas plays Sir Percy Ware-Armitage who is the father of the character he plays in this movie (even though it was only set about ten years earlier) - and Eric Sykes plays a similar role as his employee assistant but with a different name. Both films were by the same writers and director.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Previous
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Writers: The Monty Python Team / Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones / Producers: Mark Forstater, Michael White
Type: Comedy Running Time: 91 mins
In 932AD in medieval England its sovereign, King Arthur of Camelot, is travelling the length and breadth of his kingdom recruiting brave knights willing to join him on a quest. He gathers a motley assortment of noblemen including Sir Bedevere, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Robin. Arthur receives a vision of God informing him that his quest is to find the sacred Holy Grail. With no clues to its whereabouts they wander hoping to find it by good fortune but all they get are taunts from some French castle guards who have no time for do-gooders. Arthur decides they should separate and search for the Grail individually.

Each knight proceeds to have his own adventure:- Sir Galahad almost falls victim to a castle full of beautiful nubile sex-starved nymphomaniacs and is a bit peeved when a fellow knight rescues him; Sir Lancelot finds a message requesting urgent help seemingly from a damsel-in-distress and wastes no time in rescuing her from her castle prison where she is to endure a marriage forced upon her by her father - but when he gets there he finds the letter was written by an effeminate prince and he quickly makes his excuses.

Arthur and Sir Bedevere hear of an enchanter living in a cave beyond a forest who knows the whereabouts of the Grail. First they have to negotiate passage through the forest with the pernickety Knights Who Say Ni! Arthur's knights reunite and travel onwards for a year across snowy regions until they find the enchanter called Tim. They then have to defeat a fearsome bunny rabbit who guards the cave entrance. Inside the cave they find inside an unhelpful inscription from ancient times citing the location of the Grail as being in an unspecified castle.

They continue on and have to pass over a rope bridge guarded by a keeper who requires them each to pass a test before being allowed to cross. Arthur and Bedevere pass over and come to a shore where they are ferried across to a castle which they assume must contain the grail. But the taunting French guards have taken over and won't let them in.

Arthur prepares to lay siege to the castle with his army until the modern day police arrive and arrest him for being a troublemaker and disperse his army. The (cop-out) End - they do not find the Grail.
Starring: Graham Chapman (as King Arthur), John Cleese (as Sir Lancelot), Eric Idle (as Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot), Terry Jones (as Sir Bedevere & Prince Herbert), Michael Palin (as Sir Galahad the Pure)
Featuring: Terry Gilliam (as Various small parts), Connie Booth (as The Witch), Carol Cleveland (as Zoot & Dingo, [Twins]), Neil Innes (as Singing Minstrel)
NOTES:

The principal cast also played many other lesser cameo character roles too numerous to mention, so the above list shows only the main character each portrayed.

Writers:- Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam


Moon Zero Two (1969) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Michael Carreras / Director: Roy Ward Baker
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 96 mins
In the year 2021 the moon is a bustling tourist destination and terminal hub for onward flights to Mars and Venus. The moon has a working community of Space Corporation personnel as well as a mining industry to locate and extract precious minerals from the moon's surface. Captain William Kemp is the owner and pilot of a small moon ferry for hire called Moon Zero Two which is a somewhat obsolete ten-year-old craft that still works but is nearing the end of its useful life. Other similar craft have met with unfortunate ends recently and Kemp is told by Space Control that he has one more week to get his craft fully overhauled or he will be grounded.

Kemp is an explorer at heart and was the first man to set foot on Mars. He would have liked to continue in that area of exploration but the technical limitations on engine capacity prevented mankind venturing further to Mercury or the moons of Jupiter. Kemp had no wish to become a mere passenger service captain and so he left the corporation and set up on his own providing a ferry and salvage operation on the moon with his friend and spacecraft engineer Karminski.

With the deadline approaching Kemp gets an offer from a shady businessman called J J Hubbard that he wouldn't normally consider. Hubbard wants to charter Moon Zero Two to rendezvous with a small obscure asteroid which his surveys have shown is made entirely of sapphire. His will then use boosters to redirect its path so it crash lands onto an isolated part of the moon where it can be retrieved by Hubbard's men and earn him a small fortune. In return Hubbard will give Kemp a brand new space ferry to replace his defunct model. What Hubbard wants to do is illegal but is unlikely to be detected so Kemp reluctantly agrees. They take off and fit the asteroid with the booster engines and make the initial main course correction for moon approach. Then in three days time they will make a second rendezvous to finesse the course corrections and aim it at the specific area of the moon they wish it to land upon.

In the meantime Kemp returns to the moon where he is approached by a woman called Clementine Taplin who has just arrived at the Moon's main space terminal on a passenger craft from Earth. She was expecting to find her brother Wally waiting but he has not arrived to meet her. Wally is a miner with a claim on the far side of the moon and his last communication with her indicated that he had struck lucky and being a geologist she was coming to help him. The mining regulations of the moon state that a miner has two years in which to explore his claim area and if nothing is discovered in that time the claim rights expire. Wally's claim period is due to expire in three days and Clementine is concerned about him as it takes six days by moon buggy to get here from the moon's far side. She hires Kemp to take her in Moon Zero Two on a trip to Farside station which only takes twenty minutes by spaceship. From there they hire a Moon buggy to take them to her brother's claim site which takes a day's drive.

Once there they discover that Wally has been murdered - but before he died he had found a rich vein of nickel which is what he had been referring to in his communication with his sister. Kemp and Clem almost become victims themselves when three claim jumpers attack but they manage to kill them all and make it back to Farside station after a further day's drive. There they find Hubbard waiting and discover it was he who had Wally murdered because that plot of moonland is where he plans to land his asteroid and then take over the expired claim to "mine" the sapphire. Clementine tells Hubbard his plan is foolish because sapphire is only valuable because of its scarcity and if he floods the market with a whole asteroid of the mineral it will become as valueless as coloured glass. But Hubbard is not planning to sell it for its ornamental value - rather he intends to use its properties as a robust industrial material to line rocket tubes which will then allow spaceships to travel much further than they are currently able and then exploit the potential of the new destinations reached. Hubbard forces Kemp to continue with the second asteroid rendezvous threatening the life of Clementine, whom Kemp has grown fond of, to force him to comply.

But as Hubbard and his henchmen are working with Kemp on the asteroid to adjust the portable boosters for the final course correction, Karminski and Clementine manage to retake Moon Zero Two and blast away as Kemp cuts himself adrift from the asteroid whilst precipitating the boosters early. Hubbard and his men are unable to cut their safety tie ropes and are sent crashing down onto the moon riding the asteroid - killing them as it hits directly on target on Wally's claim land.

Clementine regrets that her brother's claim has now expired but Kemp tells her that since Wally did discover the nickel but was then murdered before being able to file his discovery the expiry period will not apply and as his sole beneficiary she will have rights to both the nickel find and the sapphire now present and is consequently now a very rich woman - and with a budding romance between them Kemp seems likely to benefit from it as well.
Starring: James Olson (as Capt William Kemp), Catherine Schell (as Clementine Taplin), Ori Levy (as Karminski, Kemp's partner)
Featuring: Warren Mitchell (as J.J. Hubbard), Adrienne Corri (as Elizabeth Murphy, Lunar Bureau of Investigation officer), Dudley Foster (as Whitsun, Hubbard's scientist), Bernard Bresslaw (as Harry, Hubbard's henchman), Michael Ripper (as Vacationing miner)
Starlets: Carol Cleveland (as Janey, Monorail Hostess), Claire Shenstone (as Hotel Clerk), Chrissie Shrimpton (as Boutique Attendant), Amber Dean Smith (Hubbard's Girl Friend), Simone Silvera (as Hubbard's Girl Friend)
NOTES:

From an original story by Gavin Lyall, Frank Hardman and Martin Davison.

Catherine Schell is credited as Catherina von Schell.


Moonchild (1989) Previous
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Writer: Steve Newcombe / Director/Producer: Michael J Murphy
Type: Horror Running Time: 82 mins
Sarah is a young woman in her mid-twenties from London who has arrived in a small country village to do secretarial work for a non-fiction writer called Edward Lucan, a specialist in the occult. She will be living at Lucan's farm where her job will be to transcribe his dictation tapes for his latest book which he cannot do himself because of an enfeebling medical condition which makes him wheelchair bound and dependant on a nurse for his healthcare needs. Sarah finds Lucan to be oddly unnerving and cannot really understand why he did not hire someone local to do this work for him. Nurse Kelly is unfriendly and Sarah feels miserable with only a rustic farmhand called Davies to talk to. Davies tells Sarah that her predecessor in the job had also coincidentally been called Sarah. That Sarah had come from London too, but had gone mad and been committed to the local mental hospital. That all happened nearly a year ago now.

The latest chapter of Lucan's book that Sarah is typing is all about the antichrist. Lucan's assertion is that the third coming of the antichrist is due very soon in the 1990s. This third manifestation will be called Alus and be its most powerful and dangerous yet. Previous antichrists had been Napoleon and Hitler. The antichrist exists as a non-corporeal latent essence dormant in a host known as a shaman. Full manifestation requires the presence of one known as the Moonchild who ineluctably acts as catalyst for the devil's spawn to fully emerge from hell and into our world via the shaman. The personification will be immutably fortified by the subsequent sacrifice of the Moonchild. A Moonchild is a female created a generation earlier in an occult ceremony in which two virgin acolytes are brought together and whose resultant female issue will have a preordained destiny unsuspected by herself once she reaches her mid-twenties. (Note: these plot details are slowly revealed throughout the film in the form of Lucan's dictation voice, but are given here in one full chunk to ease overall explanative)

Sarah meets the young local vicar called Daniel who seems to be the only villager she has met in whom she can place her trust. She tells him about the feelings of dread she has been experiencing together with increasingly bad nightmares. He assures her she can always come to him for sanctuary should it ever get too much for her. Lucan receives a package he ordered containing some ancient artefacts amongst which is a necklace that he gives to Sarah. He asks her to wear it constantly and she can see no harm in humouring him.

Sarah finds out more about the other Sarah who used to work for Lucan. Bizarrely she had the exact same birthday, was also adopted and lived in the same part of London. Sarah asks Father Daniel to take her to the hospital so she can talk to "Mad" Sarah. But when they arrive Mad Sarah gets so distressed, raving about being hunted, that she jumps from a window and kills herself. Sarah can't help wondering what scared her so much that she would do that.

The coming Saturday is Sarah's birthday and she decides it would be best for her to leave before then, but Father Daniel persuades her to stay for if the evil that pervades this village is confronted it might be possible to eradicate it for good. He urges her to be brave and remain so that those involved will show their hand and can be dealt with.

As Sarah continues typing Lucan's notes she discovers more about the Moonchild ceremony and at last figures out that all the indications point to it being her. Could she be the Moonchild? If so then perhaps Mad Sarah was a case of mistaken identity and the Satanists accidentally lured the wrong Sarah into their midst but now they are trying again. Sarah feels ever surer that Lucan is behind it all and removes the medallion necklace he gave her which as far as she knows could be part of the ritual and without it perhaps she will be safer. Lucan urges her to put it on again imploring her to trust him but her suspicions about him have become too profound for her to listen to anything he says. Sarah head off to the vicarage for the sanctuary promised by Father Daniel. He is not there but his housekeeper lets her waits and gives her some soup. The soup makes her drowsy and she passes out.

Back at the cottage Lucan rises from his wheelchair as his infirmity fades. Sarah is his daughter conceived when he was a young 15-year-old virgin acolyte in the coven. The dormant demon has resided in his body awaiting the Moonchild's maturity where it would personify into the antichrist during the forthcoming ceremony. However Lucan had been fighting against it and his defiance is what has made him so ill. Lucan's rebellious strength of will and refusal to fulfil his destiny has now forced the demon to urgently abandon his body and seek another host. And with his body free of contamination Lucan's muscles have started to work again properly meaning he can now stand and walk. The medallion he gave Sarah was really meant to protect her but now she has removed it he is very concerned.

Sarah wakes up and finds herself in a basement crypt with an assembly of Satanists all worshiping a figure who stands before them in triumph. It is Father Daniel who has been taken over by the demon antichrist. Its personality has manifested itself in Daniel's form and when the ceremony concludes with the Moonchild's earthly sacrifice, its full emergence from hell will be consummated. The acolytes worship the evil creature because they have been promised power in the new world order that will come about under the antichrist's dominion. However the evil Daniel only has contempt for their petty ambitions requiring only their servile obedience now they have almost served their purpose and can do nothing to stop the inevitable from happening. Lucan arrives and tries to tell the acolytes how they have been deceived - that there will be no riches for them, only death and suffering. Lucan knows this is a critical phase in the ceremony, the antichrist is already very powerful but it has not fully realised its earthly form and is still vulnerable. But the antichrist's power is too great for Lucan to overcome alone and he is felled into a subdued state by the overwhelming forces at the antichrist's mental command. Lucan appeals to the villagers to turn against their master now they know how he has deceived them. They all join hands to unify their strength and in the face of this spiritual backlash the unfortified antichrist convulses and burns away as its evil form is destroyed.

Sarah forgives Lucan now she knows the truth of how he was trying to save her whilst under immense strain from the parasite demon within him. She decides to stay with her newly found father.
Starring: Judith Holding (as Sarah), Patrick Olliver (as Edward Lucan), Philip Lyndon (as Father Daniel)
Featuring: Greg Clark (as Tony Cope, pet shop owner), Therese Hickland (as Nurse Kelly), Neil Goulbourn (as Davies, rustic farm hand & cook), Alan Janson (as Steve, Nurse Kelly's nephew), Catherine Rowlands (as Mad Sarah), Jessica Day (as Jan, Sarah's friend), Wendy Stacey (as Mrs Roach, vicarage housekeeper), Lionel Glover (as Doctor Morrell), Bill Maxted (as Psychiatrist)
Also: (unspecified roles) Sarah Payne, John Copeland, William Medhurst, Jon Morgan, Debbie Norman, Sue Moore, Denise Burden, Ian Fritton, Carol Shipp


The Moon-Spinners (1964) Previous
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Writer: James Neilson / Director: James Neilson / co-Producer: Bill Anderson
Type: Adventure Running Time: 113 mins
Nikky Ferris is a young woman on a working holiday with her Aunt Frances as they journey around Greece. Aunt Frances is a musicologist who is taping examples of folk music for a BBC show. They arrive on the island of Crete thoroughly exhausted and in need of rest but find that the hotel they booked has no rooms available. After some pleading negotiations a room is found and they move in. The hotel owner is called Sophia and it was her underhand brother Stratos who told her to turn the two Englishwomen away and he is annoyed that Sophia eventually allowed them to stay. Unbeknown to his sister, Stratos is engaged in a criminal plot and was suspicious of the Englishwomen's sudden arrival. He thought that they may be accomplices of a young English tourist called Mark Camford already staying at the hotel whose snooping behaviour has become a nuisance - almost as if Camford was actively watching his movements.

In that latter regard Stratos is correct for Mark does have a special reason for being here. He had been a bank employee in London entrusted to deliver some world famous jewels to a client - but on the way he was robbed. Mark was suspected of being complicit in the robbery and lost his job and was disgraced. To try and clear his name Mark began his own investigations and managed to uncover a lead that indicated that this man Stratos may have been involved and have hidden the jewels somewhere in this area until a suitable buyer was found willing to purchase on the black market - because the jewels are too famous to be sold on the open market. Fortunately Stratos does not know that Mark was the unlucky courier.

As the only young English people at the hotel Nikky and Mark Camford get chatting and like each other and arrange to meet up the next day to go swimming. But before then under cover of darkness Mark sees Stratos leave the hotel and make for his boat - Mark tracks him along the coast to a small cove - but Stratos sees him and shoots and believes he has killed the pesky interloper.

Next day Nikky is disappointed when Mark does not show up for their date and the hotel staff tell her that he booked out early in the morning and left by bus which she finds perplexing. So she goes off exploring on her own and finds an old church. She follows a trail of blood to a crypt and finds Mark injured - he had crawled there overnight after being hit by Stratos' bullet. She tends to his wound as best she can after going back to the hotel for a first-aid kit and he tells her his story (as already conveyed above). Stratos become suspicious of Nikky's movements and her need for the medical kit and suspects that she is caring for the injured Mark. Mark and Nikky go on the run as Stratos hunts for them with murderous intent and they have to sleep rough overnight in a ruined temple.

Next day they are lucky to be found by the island's genial British Consul Anthony Gamble while he is out partaking in his hobby of archaeological exploration. He takes them back to his villa and makes all the arrangements for Mark to be flown to the mainland for treatment on his gunshot wound. In fact Gamble is the mastermind behind the jewel theft operation and chastises his underling Stratos for his foolhardy tactics. The deaths of British nationals would have brought too much unwelcome attention wheras Gamble's deft approach gets them safely out of the way.

A luxury yacht has arrived in the area owned by the millionairess Madame Habib famed for her collection of rare jewellery who has come to view some goods that the clandestine antiquities dealer Gamble has advised her are for sale. Nikky wants to help Mark clear his name and manages to get on board the yacht and appeal to Madame Habib not to buy the jewels telling her Mark's story. When Stratos arrives with the jewellery which dates to the time of Catherine The Great, Madame Habib is sorely tempted to buy them but can see that events may spiral out of control and decides to cooperate with the authorities on this occasion and turn the villains in. Mark is able to recover the jewellery and makes preparations to return them to the rightful owner and clear his name.
Starring: Hayley Mills (as Nikky Ferris), Peter McEnery (as Mark Camford), Joan Greenwood (as Aunt Frances), Eli Wallach (as Stratos, Greek villain)
Featuring: John Le Mesurier (as Anthony Gamble, British consul), Sheila Hancock (as Cynthia Gamble, consul's wife), Irene Papas (as Sophia, Hotel owner and Stratos' sister), Pola Negri (as Madame Habib, millionairess), Michael Davis (as Alexis, Sophia son), Paul Stassino (as Lambis, Stratos' villainous partner), André Morell (as Captain of Madame Habib's luxury yacht)
NOTES:

Based on the book by Mary Stewart

The Moon-Spinners is the name of the hotel


Mosquito Squadron (1969) Previous
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Writers: Donald S. Sanford, Joyce Perry / Director: Boris Sagal / Producer: Lewis J. Rachmil
Type: War Drama Running Time: 86 mins
During World War II, RAF Mosquito Bomber Squadron 641 is on a mission to destroy German V1 rocket launching platforms to combat the growing threat of the "flying bombs" that are terrorising London. The squadron leader of the four-plane mission is David Scott and one of his wingmen is his best friend Quint Munroe. The squadron is attacked by Messerschmitts and Scott's plane goes down. Quint sees his friend's plane explode shortly after crashing and knows that Scott could not have possibly survived. This is a crushing blow for Quint because David "Scotty" Scott had been like a brother to him. Quint had been an orphan and was virtually raised by the Scott family. It falls upon Quint to tell Scotty's wife Beth the tragic news - she is devastated by her loss.

Quint is promoted to Squadron Leader just as a vital new operation is being planned. Intelligence information has revealed that the Germans are working on the development of a next generation of V rockets at an underground research lab beneath a French castle called Châteaux Charlon. Reconnaissance photos show access to the research laboratories is via a tunnel mouth that would be hard to bomb conventionally. Therefore they plan to use the bouncing bomb principal developed by the wartime inventor Barnes Wallis and bounce bombs across a field and directly into the mouth and down the tunnel to explode inside. Once that is accomplished the whole châteaux must be obliterated with a follow-up carpet-bombing raid using conventional bombs.

Quint's squadron go through extensive practice to try and establish the ideal distance and altitude at which to launch the special bombs - but there are too many random elements involved to increase the success rate much beyond about 1 in 10. In off-duty hours Beth seeks the emotional support of Quint and they spend days out together and eventually this leads to a romantic affair.

The Germans make a strategic move to defend the castle by turning it into a Prisoner of War camp for captured RAF men and they send the British a film to show the prisoners arriving hoping it will lower morale of the pilots if they know that any attack they make on the installation would be killing their own buddies. When the film is shown Quint is shocked to see that Scotty is amongst the prisoners. Quint decides it would be kinder not to tell Beth that Scotty is still alive.

High Command order the bombing raid must go ahead despite the barbaric German tactics although the pilots are justifiably uneasy. Quint proposes an adjunct to the mission that they could use one of the bouncing bombs (called High-Balls) to destroy the castle wall and give the men inside a fighting chance to get out before the carpet-bombing.

Quint's plan is approved and the POW's are informed via a French underground network to be ready to make a break for it on Sunday morning. High Command's only proviso to Quint is that the tunnel mouth is the priority and a bomb may only be used for the castle wall if there are High-Ball bombs left over after the tunnel has been successfully destroyed first - each plane in the squadron can carry two of the High Ball bombs and only four Mosquito's that can carry them. The follow-up carpet-bombing squadrons will go ahead regardless of the success of the "bonus" castle break-out mission.

The raid goes ahead - one Mosquito is destroyed by German air defences, several High-Balls miss their target and the success of the mission finally hinges upon two Mosquitoes with one remaining bomb each and two targets. Quint's wingman makes his run with the penultimate bomb which MUST hit target if the final High-Ball is to be used for the castle. But he is hit by anti-aircraft fire and unable to deploy so in a final effort of bravery he flies his dying plane into the mouth of the tunnel in a suicide run and ensures the success of the first stage of the mission. Quint is then free to use the final bomb to blow up the castle wall as planned and the prisoners fight their way out into the surrounding countryside. Quint's Mosquito is hit and his plane makes an emergency crash landing - he survives and joins the men on the ground.

Quint finds Scotty who has lost his memory in his crash and does not remember who he is or about Beth. The escapees become pinned down by a German tank which must be taken out if they are to get away. The French resistance are helping the airmen and have a bazooka and Scotty volunteers to head the tank off and fire it. This exposes him and he has to fire at point blank range which kills him as well as destroying the tank - just as he dies he remembers Beth. With this obstacle removed the airmen manage to get away and through underground French Resistance networks find their way back to England.

When Quint arrives back at base Beth is waiting for him but he decides it would be unfair to tell her that her husband had been alive after all but has died "again" in an act of selfless bravery.
Starring: David McCallum (as Quint Munroe), Suzanne Neve (as Beth Scott), David Dundas (as Flight Lieutenant Douglas Shelton, Beth's brother)
Featuring: Dinsdale Landen (as Wing Commander Clyde Penrose, base commander), Charles Gray (as Air Commodore Hufford), Vladek Sheybal (Lieutenant Schack, German château officer), Nicky Henson (as Flight Sergeant Wiley Bunce, Quint's navigator), David Buck (as Squadron Leader David Scott, Beth's husband), Michael Anthony (as Father Bellague, padre at château), Bryan Marshall (as Neale, a château POW), Robert Urquhart (as Major Kemble, military intelligence), Peter Copley and Peggy Thorpe-Bates (as David Scott's parents), George Layton (as a château POW)


Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) Previous
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Writer: Thaddeus Vane / Director: Saul Swimmer / Producer: Allen Klein
Type: Drama / Music Running Time: 90 mins
Herman Tulley lives with his grandmother Gloria in Manchester. His prize possession and passion is a greyhound called Mrs Brown left to him by his late grandfather which he now shares equally with his four friends Karl, Keith, Derek and Barry. Together the five lads are a small-time pop band called Herman's Hermits although it's very much a second choice hobby for them all and they just perform occasionally to make a bit of extra money for the upkeep of Mrs Brown. Until recently Herman worked as an advertising clerk but lost his job to a rival who was more attuned to the company philosophy of individualism being a bad thing for business - so Herman was fired. Herman also makes friends with a much travelled and remarkably posh gentleman tramp called Percy who is down on his luck. Herman's next door neighbour is a girl called Tulip who secretly fancies him but knows he just thinks of her as one of the lads.

The lads race Mrs Brown in the local heats and Mrs Brown wins which qualifies her for the Derby trials in London. An ex-barrowboy businessman called Mr George G Brown from London, who built his fruit and vegetable business up from nothing to make himself very wealthy, is visiting Manchester with his wife and daughter - and he is pleased at the win because his wife bet on her namesake. Herman meets their daughter Judy who is a beautiful and successful fashion model and Herman becomes smitten with her and she with him on their brief encounter. Mr Brown suggests they look him up if they ever make it to London. And Herman now has another reason to want to visit London - to see Judy again.

But first Herman and his friends need to raise some more cash gigging to be able to afford to make the trip and the race entrance fee. They eventually have enough and head off to London - they cannot afford much in the way of accommodation but Mr Brown helps out by giving them jobs in his market and he invites them to a grand buffet at his country mansion where Herman becomes reacquainted with Judy Brown. Unfortunately though, Judy is off to Rome for a two month modelling assignment and Herman has to say goodbye. While he is seeing Judy off at the train station he manages to lose Mrs Brown when his back is turned and he and the lads make a desperate search of London to find their dog in time for the big race. But they fail to find her and have to head back to Manchester feeling dejected.

Herman cannot get over his loss until the tramp Percy arrives having walked from London with Mrs Brown after finding her. But while she was loose Mrs Brown must have had an amorous encounter for she is expecting and soon gives birth to a little daughter puppy of mixed breed. The lads decide that when Mrs Brown has recovered they will try their luck in London again and when Tulip asks if she can come too Herman, who is suddenly starting to see her in a new way, agrees she can.
Starring: (Herman's Hermits) Peter Noone (as Herman Tulley) and Karl Green, Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Barry Whitwam (as themselves)
Also:- Lance Percival (as Percy the Tramp), Stanley Holloway (as George G. Brown), Mona Washbourne (as Brown's wife), Sarah Caldwell (as Judy, Brown's daughter), Marjorie Rhodes (as Gloria, Herman's Grandma), Sheila White (as Tulip, girl next door to Herman)
Featuring: Drewe Henley (as Clive Wingate, Judy's photographer)
Familiar Faces: Joan Hickson (Fussy Landlady, cameo), Lynda Baron (Computer Room Woman, cameo)
Starlets: Michelle Cook (as Hippie Girl, cameo)
NOTES:

Only Peter Noone's character has a storyline - the other four members of the group are his friends who don't have much to do beyond the occasional line of dialogue.


The Mummy (1959) Previous
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Writer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Michael Carreras
Type: Horror Running Time: 88 mins
Starting in Egypt in 1895 where three archaeologists are excavating an Egyptian tomb hollowed into the side of a mountain. The expedition is headed by Stephen Banning who has been following clues to the tomb's whereabouts for twenty years and has now at long last found it. He is joined on the venture by his best friend Joseph Whemple and his grown-up son John Banning. The tomb is that of the Princess Anaka who was High Priestess to the god Karnak. Four thousand years ago she had been on a pilgrimage when she had died of a fever. The priest Kharis, who was secretly in love with the princess, had her tomb constructed so she could be laid to rest near where she died.

Stephen and Joseph prepare to enter the tomb leaving John back at the camp nursing a broken leg. Before they enter, an Egyptian called Mehemet Bey tries to stop them by warning of the terrible dangers they face if they enter the tomb. But Stephen disregards the man's superstitious ramblings. Stephen and Joseph break the seal and enter the burial chamber of the tomb. They find the tomb has remained undisturbed down the millennia and look in awe at the royal sarcophagus containing the body of the princess. Joseph leaves to tell John what they have found. Left alone to look around Stephen finds a scroll which he recognises as the fabled Scroll of Life and he begins to idly read it aloud to himself. Next thing a scream is heard from the tomb and Stephen is found collapsed and suffering from a complete mental breakdown. The reason for his condition is unknown and the scroll he found is nowhere to be seen. Stephen is sent back to England to be cared for at a nursing home while Joseph and John finish the work crating up the contents of the tomb for shipment back to a British museum.

Three years later John is back in England and his father Stephen has still not recovered from the mental disorder. In his paranoiac state Stephen seems to live in fear of being killed by a vengeful Egyptian mummy which makes no sense at all to John. However we discover in flashback that when Stephen read from the Scroll of Life a hidden alcove opened up and from it emerged a bandage-swathed mummy that lurched menacingly towards him. It was stopped by the intervention of the Egyptian who ordered it back to the alcove and took the scroll - but by then it was too late and Stephen's mind had been irrevocably damaged by his fear.

Shortly afterwards Stephen's room is broken into by someone immensely strong and he is killed. The killer remained unseen by anyone else but we know it was the mummy. It has been transported to England by the Egyptian Mehemet Bey who has brought it back to life with the scroll in order to take revenge of the three defilers of the princess's tomb. He started with the leader of the expedition and he swears that soon the other two will feel the wrath of the god Karnak's faithful servants.

As John is sorting through his late father's papers he reads a full account of the legend of Princess Anaka. The legend says that after the princess's body was committed to her sarcophagus the priest Kharis became so grief-stricken that he dared to use the arcane Scroll of Life to bring her back to life. But he was discovered attempting this blasphemous act and for his sins he was swathed in bandages and entombed alive in a comatose state of living death in a hidden alcove to forever watch over and protect the princess's mortal remains from desecration. John thought this was all a myth but after thinking about the manner of his father's demise he begins to wonder. He also notices that the cartouche of Princess Anaka's face bears a strong resemblance to that of his wife Isobel.

The mummy next targets Joseph and this time John sees the mummy in the act. He tries to stop it but it is too powerful. With two now dead John fears for his own life next and takes steps to protect himself. When the mummy comes for him he tries shooting it but the bullets have no effect. The mummy starts to strangle him and there is nothing he can do to stop it happening. But then Isabel hears the commotion and sees her husband in danger and screams out for the creature to stop. It looks at her and unexpectedly it obeys and leaves without completing its task. John thinks it must have become confused thinking that Isabel was the princess whom it loved when it was alive.

The Egyptian is angry that the mummy failed its mission and despatches it once again and this time accompanies it to make sure it completes its task. The mummy attacks John once again and Isobel intervenes ordering the mummy off. The Egyptian tells the mummy to kill her as well but this was a mistake because the mummy loves her and instead it kills the Egyptian. It then carries Isobel away thinking she is the princess to whom he is devoted.

John follows with a squad of the local armed police. The mummy heads for the swamps but they dare not shoot for fear of hitting Isobel. John tells his wife to order the mummy to put her down and once she is clear they fire at the mummy with a barrage of shots which overwhelm it and it sinks down into the bog and does not remerge. The danger is over.
Starring: Cushing (as John Banning), Christopher Lee (as The Mummy, [and Kharis the Priest in flashback]), Raymond Huntley (as Joseph Whemple, Stephen's friend), George Pastell (as Mehemet Bey, Egyptian)
Featuring: Felix Aylmer (as Stephen Banning, John's father), Yvonne Furneaux (as Isobel Banning, John's wife [and as Princess Ananka in flashback]), Eddie Byrne (as Inspector Mulrooney, detective), Michael Ripper (as Poacher), George Woodbridge (as Police Constable), Harold Goodwin and Denis Shaw (as Workmen)
NOTES:

This was the first of four films made by Hammer that involved a Mummy. The next was The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964). Then came The Mummy's Shroud (1967) and finally Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971). Other than the use of a Mummy they have no connection to each other in terms of characters or story continuity.


The Mummy's Shroud (1967) Previous
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Writer/Director: John Gilling / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys
Type: Horror Running Time: 86 mins
(2000 BC prologue) In Egypt the brother of the reigning pharaoh has mounted a murderous rebellion to seize the throne. Knowing that his young son's life will not be spared the pharaoh sends his son Kah-to-Bey out into the desert under the care of his most trusted slave Prem. But desert conditions are harsh and the young boy succumbs and dies. Prem covers the boy with a sacred shroud and seals the body in a makeshift tomb in a desert cave and then leaves taking with him the Royal Seal of the Pharaohs. Later Prem has himself mummified with the Seal so that it will be believed he was the pharaoh and his young master will remain at peace. (End of prologue)

In 1920 an expedition has been mounted by British archaeologists to locate the real tomb of Kah-To-Bey. Twenty years beforehand the mummified remains of what was thought to be a pharaoh were discovered but newly discovered records have indicated that this may have been a slave. The expedition is led by Sir Basil Waldon and he has on his team Paul Preston, linguist Clare de Sangre, and photographer Harry Newton. After a sandstorm they find the tomb and are soon joined by expedition financier Stanley Preston and his assistant Longbarrow and they all enter the cave system. Their way is blocked by an Arab called Hasmid Ali who warns them not to disturb the tomb of Kah-to-Bey. But they disregard this warning and break into the tomb where they find the body of the boy-prince still covered in the shroud. They take the remains back to the Cairo museum where it is reunited in the same display with the previously discovered mummy of Prem.

Hasmid Ali's family have been the keepers of the tomb for centuries and Hasmid considers it now his duty to take revenge on the six defilers who desecrated the tomb. He takes the shroud and using mystical powers he is able to reanimate the mummy and send it after the expedition members one by one killing them in a variety of horrible ways. When only Paul and Claire are left alive the mummy is sent after them by Hasmid and the pair realise that it is the shroud that holds the key and once they manage to get hold of it and Claire reads the hieroglyphics upon it the mummy crumples into dust and is destroyed.
Starring: André Morell (as Sir Basil Walden, expedition leader), John Phillips (as Stanley Preston, expedition financier), David Buck (as Paul Preston, archaeologist, son of Stanley), Maggie Kimberley (as Clare de Sangre, expedition linguist), Elizabeth Sellars (as Barbara Preston, Stanley's wife), Michael Ripper (as Longbarrow, Sir Basil's personal assistant), Tim Barrett (as Harry Newton), expedition photographer)
Featuring: Richard Warner (as Chief Inspector Barrani, Egyptian police), Roger Delgado (as Hasmid Ali, Keeper of the tomb), Catherine Lacey (as Haiti, clairvoyant, mother of Hasmid)
(2000 BC Prologue) Dickie Owen (as Prem, head slave), Bruno Barnabe (as Pharaoh Mem-Ta), Toolsie Persaud (as Kah-to-Bey, boy prince son of Mem-Ta)
NOTES:

From a story by John Elder

This was the third of four films made by Hammer that involved a Mummy. The first was The Mummy (1959). The next was The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) and then finally (after this one) came Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971). Other than the use of a Mummy they have no connection to each other in terms of characters or story continuity.


Murder: The Ultimate Grounds for Divorce (1984) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Tim Purcell / Director: Morris Barry
Type: Thriller Running Time: 78 mins
Two young married couples go away for a camping holiday together in the countryside. Their names are Roger & Val, and Edwin & Philipa. The two couples are friends who have known each other for seven years and spend most weekends round at each others houses but have never been on holiday together. Roger organised this trip as a way of varying things and getting them away from their normal comfort zones to break the monotony.

However the trip is proving to be a disaster - the second-hand camper van Roger bought is on its last legs and breaks down leaving them stranded way off the beaten track in the middle of nowhere. They are tired and irritable and constantly arguing and laying blame for their misfortune. They decide to stop where they are and set up their tents.

The bad tempers and recriminations don't stop though and Roger seems to be going out of his way to stir things with his juvenile antics. He goads them into revealing home truths, secrets and revelations about their lives in a series of confrontations. Roger considers that Val has been holding him back from making something of himself and her lazy neurotic dependency on him has prevented him from pursuing career opportunities. Val accuses him of being a laddish womaniser and it emerges that he has had a fling with Philipa in the past which causes friction between the two women. Edwin is in the police force and is secretly gay but didn't want anyone to find out hence his marriage of convenience to Philipa.

With everyone riled up to boiling point and their marriages no longer seeming tenable Roger proposes a challenge game and as the stakes are raised the "rules" end up being that they must murder each other to win because that is the ultimate solution to divorce. Roger is playing the game his way even if the others are less keen and Edwin finds he has to fight for his survival by being equally brutal in return as they stalk each other in the surrounding forested terrain.

As things escalate the camper van and tents get destroyed amid the genuine attempts to kill one another. Finally things come to a climax along a clifftop. Philipa falls over the edge and is holding on for dear life and Val has to make a decision - does she allow her former best friend to fall to her death for having an affair with Roger or does she help her up. She eventually pulls her to safety but then walks away making it plain that she wants nothing further to do with her. Meanwhile Roger and Edwin are beating the living daylights out of each other and finally both collapse in exhaustion unable to continue and then suddenly they see the funny side of it all and start laughing their heads off as if they have finally purged the anger from their systems. No one dies but nothing will be the same for any of them again after this holiday.
Starring: Roger Daltrey (as Roger Cunningham), Toyah Willcox (as Valerie Cunningham), Leslie Ash (as Philipa), Terry Raven (as Edwin)
NOTES:

The location they are stranded in is not specified in the story although the credits indicate it was filmed at Fairlight Country Park near Hastings.


Murphy's War (1971) Previous
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Writer: Stirling Silliphant / Director: Peter Yates / Producer: Michael Deeley
Type: War Drama Running Time: 101 mins
Near the end of the Second World War in the Atlantic a German U-Boat attacks and sinks a Royal Navy ship Mount Kyle and then proceeds to massacre the survivors in the water with machine gun fire. The only survivor of this carnage is an engineer called Murphy who manages to play dead and float on debris to the nearby coastline of Venezuela where on the verge of delirium he sees the submarine sail into the mouth of the Orinoco river.

Murphy is picked up by some local fisherman and taken to a small village hospital run by a lady English doctor called Dr Hayden. As he recovers Murphy tells her about seeing the submarine although she puts it down to his weakened state causing him to imagine things. The river is deep enough to hide a submerged submarine and sure enough Murphy was correct and further up river around many twists and turns the submarine is parked and camouflaged waiting for some uncertain reason. Dr Hayden makes a radio report to her superiors about picking up a survivor and relays his story about seeing a submarine going up the Orinoco - the submarine crew are monitoring the radio and hear this.

Meanwhile another survivor called Lt Ellis is picked up in an even worse state than Murphy was - he was the pilot of the Mount Kyle seaplane who was flying at the time of the attack and has managed to land his stricken plane further along the coastline. A now recovered Murphy goes to look for the plane. Meanwhile the submarine captain and his men go to the village hospital to eliminate the survivor they heard mentioned in the radio report - and when they find Ellis they assume he is the one referred to and execute him.

Murphy tows back the plane and with the help of a local called Louis Brezan repairs it and makes it airworthy again. Murphy's fury at the submarine captain's lack of mercy for the survivors in the water has made him set upon having his revenge and he becomes fixated with the idea of single-handedly sinking the submarine. He flies over the area and spots its hidden location and then returns to the village to manufacture a homemade aerial-drop Molotov cocktail bomb using dynamite and fuel. When he returns to drop this the submarine fires back and Murphy drops the bomb a shade too early but thinks he got it anyway and returns to celebrate. But the submarine is relatively unscathed and sails towards the village and destroys the parked seaplane.

Murphy then commandeers Brezan's floating crane barge and sails down river in search of the sub. News has just come through on the radio that Germany has surrendered and the war is over but Murphy is not interested in that and is determined to take revenge even though he is weaponless. The sub captain sees the barge approaching and realises it is planning to ram them. He fires a torpedo but this just misses the barge and beaches on the shoreline without exploding - the captain then dives to avoid a collision. But the sub runs aground underwater and becomes stuck in the mud and as the captain tries desperate manoeuvres to free his vessel Murphy returns to the coastline and retrieves the unexploded torpedo using the barge's heavy lifting crane and moves back to the stricken submarine's position and releases the torpedo into the water right on top of the U-Boat. The explosion destroys the submarine and kills the crew but it also catches and sinks the barge taking Murphy with it and he dies as well.
Comment: Quite what the U-Boat's actual mission was that they had to ruthlessly eliminate any possible enemy soldier witnesses is never adequately explained.
Starring: Peter O'Toole (as Murphy), Siân Phillips (as Dr Hayden), Philippe Noiret (as Louis Brezan)
Featuring: Horst Janson (as U-boat captain), Ingo Mogendorf (as U-boat Officer), John Hallam (as Lt Ellis, Seaplane Pilot)
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Max Catto


The Music Lovers (1970) Previous
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Writer: Melvyn Bragg / Director/Producer: Ken Russell
Type: Drama Running Time: 117 mins
Set in Moscow in the 1800s. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a professor at the conservatoire who teaches music to students but also has his own ambitions to be recognised as a composer. He has already composed several pieces which he is using for a recital. The conservatoire's director has a low opinion of Tchaikovsky's compositions believing them to be too vulgar. However two women are present at the recital who have more appreciate views and are both destined to influence the course of his life.

The first is Antonina (Nina) Milyukova who is a young woman with a highly romanticised desire to consort with celebrated men and at this time in history no men are more regarded than those able to compose wonderful music. The other is a rich widow called Madame Nadedja von Meck who finds Tchaikovsky's music speaks to her in a way that leaves her breathless and touches the core of her being with its pure majesty - she has no doubt he is a genius and she wants to hear more of his rich imaginative music.

Tchaikovsky has had a gift for playing the piano since he was a young boy and his talent was encouraged by his beloved mother. Her death from cholera while he was still a boy affected him deeply. Tchaikovsky prefers the company of men and has a lover called Count Anton Chiluvsky. Tchaikovsky knows their relationship must be kept secret or it will ruin him. Tchaikovsky wishes he could devote his energies to composing full time but his lowly financial circumstances necessitate he earn his living teaching and he can only compose in his spare time.

Then quite unexpectedly Tchaikovsky gets an offer from Madame von Meck who expresses her wish to become his patron and provide him with a regular income so he need not work and can devote himself to composing full time. She stipulates that she does not want to meet him and her reward will be to hear each wonderful piece he composes before anyone else. Tchaikovsky gratefully accepts her offer and free of the need to work for a living he begins a period of great productivity, producing symphonies, operas and ballets that bring him international fame. Madame Von Meck is ecstatic with joy every time a new manuscript is delivered to her mansion.

Out of the blue Tchaikovsky receives a letter from a woman he does not know called Nina. It is a love letter which is written with such an intense declaration of feelings that he decides he must meet her. When they meet she seems to him to be everything a woman should be. She is clearly in love with him and something about her connects with his melodramatic view of romantic love and soon they are married. He views it as only proper that he have a wife to legitimise him in society from any doubts about his inclinations. He tells the Count they can no longer see each other.

However it soon becomes clear to Tchaikovsky that his marriage was a big mistake and he cannot override his homosexual tendencies to be intimate with Nina however much he tries to force himself. Nina does not understand the reasons for his reticence but is prepared to wait for him to overcome his reserve in that area. She is determined to be the dutiful wife but her constant need for her husband's attention distracts Tchaikovsky so much that he is unable to continue with his composing work. Tchaikovsky begins to find Nina unbearable and cannot contemplate the agony of living with her for the rest of his life with her constant attempts to seduce him into performing acts with her that he finds repellent. Tchaikovsky has a breakdown and temporarily loses his reason and attempts to kill her. He is considered to be borderline insane and it is only the intervention of his friends that saves him from the madhouse.

Madame von Meck offers Tchaikovsky the use of a lodge near her mansion where he can recover and be alone. Once liberated from the stifling pressures of living with Nina, Tchaikovsky thrives and resumes his composing much to Madame von Meck's delight.

Tchaikovsky sends a generous allowance to his estranged wife so she can continue to live comfortably. Nina was emotionally broken by her husband's assault on her and has started to lose her grip on reality. She thinks her salvation will be to consort with another composer. Her mother comes to stay with her and she begins to exploit her daughter's loss of reason by presenting to Nina a succession of men whom she tells Nina are composers who wish to sleep with her. Actually they are not musicians at all but men wishing to use the services of a prostitute which Nina has now unknowingly become. Her avaricious mother pockets the fees they pay.

Madame von Meck decides to hold a celebratory party in her grounds in Tchaikovsky's honour which she watches from afar from her balcony with a pleasure and pride at seeing her beloved genius enjoying himself. But to her shock she notices that Tchaikovsky seems to prefer fraternising with the young men rather than the girls and suddenly everything changes for her.

Next day Tchaikovsky receives a letter from Madame von Meck saying she is stopping his allowance and never wants to have anything to do with him again. She does not explain her reasons and Tchaikovsky cannot understand why she has suddenly rejected him. But Tchaikovsky is now a famous and celebrated man and no longer really needs her patronage to enjoy a comfortable life.

The years pass and Nina is committed to an insane asylum where she lives in wretched conditions but inwardly exists in a fantasy world of adoring lovers in which she doesn't seem to notice her squalid reality anymore. Her mother sends reports to Tchaikovsky about how well Nina is being looked after and spends the regular allowance he provides on herself.

Tchaikovsky is now old and is feeling maudlin reflecting on his life and the one woman he ever truly loved - his mother. He decides he has had enough of life and wants to die as she did. He deliberately drinks some cholera-infected water and a few days later dies in terrible agony thinking of all the people in his life.
Starring: Richard Chamberlain (as Tchaikovsky), Glenda Jackson (as Nina, Tchaikovsky's wife), Isabella Telezynska (as Madame Nadedja von Meck, Tchaikovsky's patron)
Featuring: Kenneth Colley (as Modeste, Tchaikovsky's brother), Sabina Maydelle (as Sasha, Tchaikovsky's sister), Christopher Gable (as Count Anton Chiluvsky, Tchaikovsky's lover), Max Adrian (as Nicholas Rubinstein, director of the conservatoire), Maureen Pryor (as Nina's Mother), Alex Brewer (as Young Tchaikovsky)
Starlets: Joanne Brown (as Olga Bredska, opera singer), Consuela Chapman (as Tchaikovsky's Mother as a young woman)
NOTES:

Based on the book "Beloved Friend" by Catherine Drinker Bowen and Barbara von Meck


The Mutations (1973) Previous
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Writers: Robert D Weinbach, Edward Mann / Director: Jack Cardiff / Producer: Robert D Weinbach
Type: Horror Running Time: 88 mins
(Set in the present day) A university professor called Doctor Nolter lectures his students on the subject of evolution through natural selection in the plant and animal kingdoms and how it is those members of a species that develop the most useful characteristics which survive. He calls these changes natural mutations and postulates that it would be possible through genetic manipulation of a mysterious substance called nucleic acid for scientists to induce mutations that would change or improve a species - and theoretically different species could be blended to create new types of life.

On her way walking home from classes through a deserted parkland one student called Bridget is followed and abducted by a man with a deformed face and she is rendered unconscious. The man who is named Lynch takes her to a large house and up to a laboratory room in which Doctor Nolter is waiting. Nolter has been experimenting with his theories by creating new exotic forms of plant life and is now proceeding with his ultimate endeavour of creating a new improved race of man by blending the best properties of man and plant. For this he requires live human subjects and he has employed Lynch to provide him with these. Lynch is co-owner of a circus freak show and he is helping Nolter because he wants to be cured of his facial deformity which Nolter has promised he can achieve. Laid out on the operating table Nolter begins his work on Bridget's body.

Lynch's freakshow is co-run by a dwarf named Burns and together they have a community of freakish individuals that display their deformities to a paying public as a side-show exhibit in a fairground. Lynch despises the freaks and speaks to them as if he finds them worse than animals - even though he is an outcast himself because of his own deformity Lynch does not consider himself a freak and becomes furious if this suggestion is ever made. The "strange" people in turn dislike him immensely but find themselves with little choice but to put up with his views because he runs the place and they are unwelcome in normal society.

A few days pass and Bridget's friends Tony, Hedi and Lauren are becoming concerned about her whereabouts. In the meantime they and an American student called Brian visit the fair and take in the freak show. At the end of the show Burns acting as the MC tells the audience that there is a new special exhibit called "The Incredible Lizard Woman" hidden behind a curtain who can be viewed for an extra charge. Strangely the student friends are denied entry to the special exhibit for spurious reasons. Lynch was concerned the students might recognise her somehow - for "The Lizard Woman" is what has become of Bridget and she shares the fate of Nolter's less successful experiments who end up as short-term special exhibits in the freakshow although their life expectancy tends to be short.

Nolter wants another subject and doesn't care if it's male or female - so when a curious Tony comes back to the fair after hours to try and see the Lizard Woman he is captured by Lynch and taken to Nolter's lab to be his next test subject and is hooked up to a drip feed of a plant extract that Nolter has developed.

The other students are now worrying about the disappearance of Tony too - especially concerned is his girlfriend in the group, Lauren. However, back at the lab we see that an unsupervised Tony has managed to escape. He comes round to Lauren's house trying to hide himself from her - she recognises his voice but when she sees his face she screams and goes into a catatonic state because his face has become so unspeakably gruesome. Tony quickly leaves and decides instead to contact Hedi this time by phone and gets her to write down a message about what has happened to him - during which her doorbell rings and she breaks off thinking it must be Brian whom she is expecting - but it is Lynch who has come for another test subject and has selected her. Later when Brian does arrive he finds her flat empty with signs of a struggle and then sees her half-written note from when she was on the phone to Tony which mentions Dr Nolter and he rushes off to try and rescue her.

At Nolter's residency Lynch is waiting in the grounds and fights with Brian to stop him gaining entry. Lynch's strength is superior and he renders Brian unconscious and is about to kill him when he is stabbed in the back by the freaks in his show who have finally had enough of him and have come to kill him. Inside Nolter has hooked Hedi up to his equipment and started the process when Monster Tony crashes down through the skylight window seeking revenge. His body has completely transformed into a man/plant hybrid and his thorax now embodies the clamp-like jaws of a Venus Fly Trap plant within which he imprisons Nolter and the digestive glands inside the jaws ingest and absorb the doctor's nutrients until he is ejected as a dead husk. A fire was started in the struggle and Monster Tony burns and dies. Outside Brian regains consciousness and sees the fire and bravely rushes in to save Hedi - he disconnects her from the operating table equipment and takes her out to the safety of his car telling her at last it's all over and the Professor's experiments and exotic plant breeds are all thoroughly destroyed. But in a final twist as she sits with her arm around him her skin starts to grow a layer of foliage ... THE END
Starring: Donald Pleasence (as Doctor Nolter), Tom Baker (as Lynch), Brad Harris (as Brian Redford, American student), Julie Ege (as Hedi Jenson, student), Scott Antony (as Tony Croydon, student), Jill Haworth (as Lauren Bates, student), Michael Dunn (as Burns)
Familiar Faces: Richard Davies (Doctor)
Starlets: Olga Anthony (as Bridget, first missing student), Lisa Collings (as Suzanne, prostitute)


Mutiny on the Buses (1972) Previous
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Writers/Producers: Ronald Wolfe, Ronald Chesney / Director: Harry Booth
Type: Sitcom spin-off Running Time: 84 mins
A familiarity with the characters and situation set-up has been assumed for this review - or see the entry for On The Buses which covers the basics.

Stan and Jack are up to their usual lazy tricks on their bus route with Jack keeping watch while Stan has a bit of fun with a glamorous clippie (bus conductor) called Susy on the top deck. As they are kissing Stan is so overcome with his ardour that he finds himself agreeing to marry her. Susy is so delighted that she has soon announced their engagement to everyone and although feeling somewhat railroaded Stan is not too displeased by the prospect. Susy can seemingly get him to give into any of her suggestions by smothering him with kisses until he gives in.

Susy wants them to get a place of their own as she is not willing to live with Stan's mum, sister Olive and brother-in-law Arthur. But Arthur has just been made redundant and Stan's income is needed and so he is unable to put a deposit down on a new flat until Arthur has found a new job.

Meanwhile at the bus depot a new manager has arrived determined to make the services more profitable and is planning to introduce new routes. This means more drivers are needed and so Stan trains up Arthur on how to drive a bus so he can apply. Arthur gets the job but just when at last Stan is ready to make his move Olive announces she is expecting another baby and the extra financial burden means Stan still cannot move out. Susy finally gives up on Stan and calls off their engagement.
Comment: The main plot arc is propped up with a series of quickly resolved mini-incidents such as the introduction of cab radios, a fire drill, a darts competition, and a bus excursion trip to Windsor Safari Park.
Starring: Reg Varney (as Stan Butler), Bob Grant (as Jack Harper), Stephen Lewis (as Blakey), Doris Hare (as Stan's Mum), Michael Robbins (Arthur, Stan's Brother-in-Law), Anna Karen (as Olive, Stan's Sister)
Featuring: Janet Mahoney (as Susy, Stan's fiancée), Kevin Brennan (as Mr Jenkins, depot manager), Pat Ashton (as Norah, clippie), Damaris Hayman (as Mr Jenkins' Wife)
Familiar Faces: Bob Todd (New Bus Inspector), David Lodge (Safari Park Guard)
Starlets: Jan Rennison (as Gloria, clippie), Caroline Dowdeswell (as Sandra)
NOTES:

This was the second of three big screen spin-offs from the popular ITV sitcom On The Buses. The previous film was On the Buses (1971) and the next was Holiday on the Buses (1973). The series itself ran for 74 episodes over seven series from 1969 to 1973.


My Bare Lady (1963) Previous
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Writer: Jervis MacArthur / Director: Arthur Knight / Producer: Phineas Lonestar jnr
Type: Nudist / Drama Running Time: 62 mins
Tina Murray is a young American tourist taking a cycling holiday through the Kent countryside. She is travelling alone and keeping to a very tight itinerary of nightly stopover points. Whilst having an early evening meal at a small village pub she is delighted to encounter a fellow American called Pat Kneely who has made his home in England. Pat is with an older Scottish lady with a kindly manner called Mrs Darwell and they both tell her they work at a place called Camp Hamilton a few miles away where lots of friendly people enjoy many healthy activities. Pat and Mrs Darwell can see that Tina is worn out from keeping to her hectic travelling schedule and they feel sure she would benefit from a short stay in their camp to reinvigorate herself. But although Tina finds Pat quite appealing she declines the offer because she needs to keep on track with the travel schedule she has organised for herself.

Tina sets off again on her bicycle but very shortly her fatigue causes her to have a mishap and she pitches headlong into a stream. Fortunately Pat was driving by and comes to her aid. Tina is woozy and she lets Pat take charge of her and take her to his camp where it is now dark. Mrs Darwell helps put her to bed in one of the camp's chalets and Tina has no further recollection of events until she wakes up the next morning. From what Pat and Mrs Darwell had told her she assumed the camp must be some sort of fitness club but when she looks out of the chalet window she is astonished to see naked people everywhere and is appalled to realise she is in a nudist camp! Tina has led a sheltered life and she literally faints from the shock of it.

When Tina comes to she is full of prim and proper indignation at being brought to such a shameful place and cannot believe a nice woman such as Mrs Darwell would turn out to be one of those horrible nudists. Mrs Darwell takes no offence and patiently explains to Tina about the joys of naturism and that the human body is the most natural thing in the world of which no one should be ashamed. Their camp's members come from all walks of life and are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and certainly not the depraved individuals of Tina's preconceptions. Tina can see that her ideas about nudists may have been a bit wrong but she is adamant that she will never become one herself. Pat arrives at the chalet to join in the discussion and Tina says she feels better now, and with due thanks for their kindness, would like to get going. Pat tells her that will be a bit tricky because there is a strict club rule that no clothes may be worn out of doors until after 6pm, so if she wants to leave she would have to strip off until she reached the gatehouse. Or alternatively she could stay for the day and enjoy what the camp has to offer. Tina is furious at the Hobson's Choice that Pat has offered her and resolves to simply stay in the chalet all day until 6pm.

As the day progresses Tina can see from her window a beauty contest taking place and it is clear that both contestants and onlookers alike are having so much innocent fun that she decides she will give it a go after all. Tina removes her clothes and steps out of the chalet. Pat is overjoyed at her decision and shows her around the grounds and soon Tina is enjoying for herself all the healthy outdoor activities the camp has to offer. She and Pat enjoy each other's company very much and Mrs Darwell suspects a romance could be on the cards.
Comment: Slotted into the story are two lengthy flashback sequences that flesh out the running time. In the first Mrs Darwell tells Tina how her son and daughter-in-law met in Paris and discovered they both had a love of naturism; and in the second Pat tells Tina how he lost his job when his boss discovered he was a nudist, but then later regained it when the boss discovered naturism for himself and realised it wasn't the terrible thing he'd imagined.
Starring: Julie Martin (as Tina Murray), Carl Conway (as Pat Kneely), Nina Huntredos (as Mrs Darwell), Kenneth McLelland (as Mr O'Hanrahan, Pat's boss)
Featuring: Gilly Gerard (as ?Joe, Mrs Darwell's son), Chantal Delors (as Gladys, Joe's wife), Jack Taylor, Bob Bryant, Leslie Crawford
Starlets: Bridget Leonard, Anne Marie Ward, Janie Morris, Birgitta Sanders, Miniush Thuillier, Anne Walker, Monica Lyons, Kim Turner, Mary Howe, Deborah Lacey, Chantal Favre, Helena Borland, Brenda Horne, Karen Kent
NOTES:

Although Julie Martin is playing an American girl in this, she is in fact a British actress

Nina Huntredos receives an "introducing" credit

The supporting cast is credited but it is not known who played which parts and some parts must have been uncredited because there are insufficient names to cover everyone seen. Although all the starlets are marked above as having nude scenes in fact one or two of them may not have done so because in the beauty contest scene a couple of the contestants were seen in head and shoulders close-ups only and they could be amongst the credited names.

• This is one of a string of British films from around this time that managed to get around strict censorship rules on nudity by featuring stories involving naturism activities. The others were:- Nudist Paradise (1959), Travelling Light (1961), Nudist Memories (1959), The Nudist Story (1960), Some Like It Cool (1961), Nudes of the World (1961), Sunswept (1961), Naked - as Nature Intended (1961), World Without Shame (1962), Take Off Your Clothes And Live! (1962), Eves on Skis (1963), It's A Bare, Bare World! (1963), The Reluctant Nudist (1963).


My Lover, My Son (1970) Previous
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Writers: William Marchant, Jenni Hall / Director: John Newland / Producer: Wilbur Stark
Type: Drama Running Time: 95 mins
Francesca Anderson is well-off married woman in her early 40s who lives in a mansion with her somewhat older husband Robert and their 19-year-old son James who is on the verge of going to university. James and Francesca are unusually close and they sometimes behave more like a flirting couple than mother and son. Now that James is almost a man Robert is beginning to think that their affectionate behaviour is becoming inappropriate and James himself is starting to feel he needs a girlfriend.

James meets a girl called Julie and they start going out. This causes Francesca to become jealous, feeling she is losing the special bond she has with her son. When she was much younger Francesca had an affair with a man called Macer who died in an accident and in her mind James has become a substitute for her lost lover. She cannot bear the thought of losing him again.

Francesca starts drinking heavily and causing Robert embarrassment - they have a bitter argument and in her ire she whispers to him a secret that makes him lose all reason and physically attack her. James has to step in to protect her and drive her away. But Robert is so incensed that he chases them and on a country road cuts them off. A fierce fight ensues between father and son in which an enraged Robert starts swinging a golf club. James grabs the club and hits Robert who falls to the ground. James sits in the car to recover while Francesca checks on Robert and soon comes to tell James that he is dead.

James is arrested for murder but fortunately his story of self-defence in protecting his mother is believed and he is found not guilty. Back home Francesca is delighted to have James all to herself once more and hopes things will return to the way they had always been between them. James however is still reeling from the knowledge that he killed his own father. But Francesca tells him he shouldn’t feel guilty for two reasons:- firstly Robert didn't die when James hit him - it was actually she who finished him off when she went to check on him; and secondly Robert wasn't even really James' father. Macer was actually his father (and this was the whispered secret that sent Robert into a rage). Instead of reassuring James as she'd hoped, these revelations appal him and despite her begging him to stay he immediately leaves home and heads off to be with his girlfriend Julie, leaving Francesca in a hysterical state of sorrow.
Starring: Romy Schneider (as Francesca Anderson), Dennis Waterman (as James Anderson, Francesca's son), Donald Houston (as Robert, Francesca's husband), Patricia Brake (as Julie, James' girlfriend)
Featuring: Peter Sallis (as Sir Sidney Brent, defence barrister), William Dexter (as Parks, prosecutor), Alexandra Bastedo (as Miss Clarkson, Robert's secretary), Michael Forrest (D.I. Chidley, detective), Peter Gilmore (as Nightclub Barman), Mark Hawkins (as Macer, Francesca's lover, [opening flashback scenes])
Familiar Faces: Janet Brown (as Mrs Woods, woman at party)
Starlets: Maggie Wright (as Prostitute, [non-speaking role])
NOTES:

Based on the novel Reputation For a Song by Edward Grierson


My Childhood (1972) Previous
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Writer/Director: Bill Douglas / Producer: Geoffrey Evans
Type: Drama Running Time: 44 mins
Set in 1945 in a small Scottish mining village. Eight-year-old Jamie and his slightly older brother Tommy live in poverty with their elderly and frail grandmother. Their mother is in an asylum and their (different) fathers although alive are not interested in looking after them and are made extremely unwelcome by the grandmother.

The boys' days are unremittingly mundane and dreary and nothing much really happens. They appear to have no friends except for Jamie who has befriended a German POW on field work duty to whom he is teaching rudimentary English. The whole film is just a series of small slice-of-life moments with no cohesive plot thread to follow as we get a flavour of how relentlessly miserable life is for the two boys with nothing to do all day. At the end the grandmother passes away.
Link: This is the first part of a trilogy which continues in My Ain Folk (1973) and then My Way Home (1978).
Starring: Stephen Archibald (as Jamie), Hughie Restorick (as Tommy), Jean Taylor Smith (as Grandmother)
Featuring: Karl Fieseler (as Helmuth, German POW), Bernard McKenna (as Tommy's Father), Paul Kermack (as Jamie's Father), Helena Gloag (as Jamie's Father's Mother)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White


My Ain Folk (1973) Previous
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Writer/Director: Bill Douglas / Producer: Nick Nascht
Type: Drama Running Time: 52 mins
The second part of a story set in the mid-1940s in a small Scottish mining village. See the first part My Childhood (1972) for scene setting information. With grandmother dead the boys are split up. Tommy goes to live in a foster home and from here on we don't see much more of him as the story concentrates on Jamie.

Jamie knows the whereabouts of his father and goes to see him where he continues to live with his mother. The mother makes Jamie very unwelcome - she blames Jamie's mother (who is now in an asylum) for ruining her son's life. Jamie does not feel part of the household and spends his time there in silence standing in the corner of the room where his presence is merely tolerated. He comes to hate his father's mother whose mood swings unpredictably according to how much she's had to drink and he makes a failed attempt to kill her with a poisonous flower. Jamie's father starts seeing a woman and his mother chucks him out of the house. When the mother's frail and sick husband dies Jamie is seen being taken off to live in a foster home.
Comment: Another very disjointed effort in which nothing much really happens to make it any sort of rewarding viewing experience. The story continues in the final part of this trilogy of films My Way Home (1978).
Starring: Stephen Archibald (as Jamie), Helena Gloag (as Jamie's Father's Mother), Paul Kermack (as Jamie's Father)
Featuring: Hughie Restorick (as Tommy), Bernard McKenna (as Tommy's Father)
NOTES:

The word "ain" is a Scottish word meaning "own".

Made in Black and White


My Way Home (1978) Previous
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Writer/Director: Bill Douglas / Production Supervisors: Judy Cottam, Richard Craven
Type: Drama Running Time: 68 mins
The final part of a trilogy of films about a young boy called Jamie growing up in small Scottish mining village in the 1940s. See My Childhood (1972) and My Ain Folk (1973) for the story so far.

Time has moved on about five years and Jamie is still living in a foster home. He is a very shy boy and finds it hard to make any friends. He has some ambitions to become an actor. His father comes to visit him and wants to take him back. The foster home manager advises against it as his father has not done much for him over the years. But Jamie chooses to go and returns to living with his father's mother who by now seems to have mellowed a bit perhaps because she expects him now to work for a living and bring an income into the house. Jamie's artistic ambitions are disregarded as being no sort of job for the likes of him. Jamie soon leaves and goes back to the foster home.

He eventually leaves the home and starts living rough staying in a Salvation Army hostel. He then joins up in the military army and is posted to Egypt - however army life as presented appears to be very dull and no one seems to have anything much to do all day except sit around moping and marking time. He makes friends with a fellow recruit called Robert who, with infinite patience (and without much else to do), slowly works away at Jamie's shy exterior - albeit with limited success. At the end of their tour of duty Robert tells Jamie he is welcome to come and stay with him in England if he wants to.
Comment: Jamie's half-brother Tommy is not seen or even mentioned in this instalment. All-in-all a very poor series of fairly disjointed films - even when viewed back-to-back as a whole they provide very little to interest since Jamie is so uncommunicative a character and there is precious little dialogue beyond functional necessity. Possibly it's the kind of story that might work better as a book where you can be privy to the character's thoughts but as a series of films it doesn't really work terribly well.
Starring: Stephen Archibald (as Jamie), Joseph Blatchley (as Robert, Jamie's friend in the army)
Featuring: Paul Kermack (as Jamie's father), Lennox Milne (as Jamie's Father's Mother [different actress playing her]), Gerald James (as Foster home manager)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White


Mysterious Island (1961) Previous
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Writers: John Prebble, Daniel Ullman / Director: Cy Endfield / Producer: Charles H. Schneer
Type: Adventure Running Time: 96 mins
Starting in America in 1865 during a battle between Union and Confederate forces. Union Captain Cyrus Harding is a Confederate Prisoner of War and during a ferocious siege of the town where the prison is located he and three of his men see as a means of escape a hot-air observation balloon. They manage to escape taking a Confederate soldier prisoner with them to help fly it. The balloon is then buffeted by one of the worst storms ever seen and is blown thousands of miles out to sea. After many days in the air over the Pacific Ocean the drifters finally spot a small tropical island. They hastily contrive an emergency landing procedure but the balloon's valve controls are broken in the process with no hope of using it again for another journey.

The five stranded men agree to forget their political differences and work together to survive under the leadership of Captain Harding. They explore the island which is formed around an active volcano and find that it is occasionally used by pirates. Also they discover that the island is populated by monstrous insects, crustaceans and animals many times their normal size.

After a few days two English women are washed ashore, the only survivors of a shipwreck, and they join the group. They find a cave to make their base and start thinking about boat building as a way of getting back to civilisation. Then they have a bizarre stroke of fortune when a chest is washed ashore containing just the sort of nautical aids and tools that they will sorely need to accomplish their task. The chest comes from the Nautilus which the men know of from news stories of eight years ago. It was a submersible ship that was believed lost off the coast of Mexico and belonged to a certain Captain Nemo who was notoriously anti-war and used his remarkable vessel to destroy warships.

A pirate ship arrives and the pirates start firing on them with cannons from their ship pinning the castaways down with no hope of self-defence or retaliation. Suddenly there is an unexpected explosion and the pirate vessel sinks. The castaways discover that their mysterious benefactor is none other than Captain Nemo himself. He too is stranded on this island with the Nautilus which is in a lagoon cavern but is no longer seaworthy. Nemo has been using his time alone here to conduct genetic experiments to increase the size of animals with the aim of solving the world's food problems. He has been keeping an eye on the castaways helping them out when he could because he needs their help in getting off the island so he can share his discoveries with the world. Nemo has a plan to refloat the pirate vessel using the Nautilus' pumps - but time is short because the island's volcano is due to erupt soon and destroy the island.

With time running short the castaways have to work hard to implement Nemo's plan and just manage to refloat the pirate vessel as the volcano erupts and the island begins to self-destruct. Unfortunately Nemo has to remain on the Nautilus to operate the pumping equipment and becomes trapped as the island is finally obliterated. The rest of the castaways use the pirate vessel and find their way back to civilisation and dedicate themselves to bringing about a more enlightened and peaceful world as Captain Nemo would have wanted.
Starring: Michael Craig (as Captain Cyrus Harding, Union army), Herbert Lom (as Captain Nemo), Joan Greenwood (as Lady Mary Fairchild, English castaway), Percy Herbert (as Sgt Pencroft, Confederate soldier), Michael Callan (as Herbert Brown, young Union soldier), Beth Rogan (as Elena Fairchild, niece of Lady Mary, English castaway), Gary Merrill (as Gideon Spilett, Union war correspondent), Dan Jackson (as Corporal Neb Nugent, Union soldier)
NOTES:

Based on the book L'ile mystérieus (The Mysterious Island) by Jules Verne which was his sequel to Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea) in which Captain Nemo was first introduced.

Although unrelated to this film, Captain Nemo appears again in Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)


Naked - as Nature Intended (1961) Previous
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Director/Producer: George Harrison Marks
Type: Nudist Running Time: 59 mins
The story of five working girls who go on holiday:- secretary Petrina, shoe-shop assistant Jackie, and dancer Pamela are three chums who decide to go on a weekend away together touring South West England in their car. Meanwhile another two friends Angela and Bridget, who both work in a petrol station, also decide to take a break and go hiking down to the Cornish coast to a place they know where they can partake in their favourite pastime of naturism.

The two groups of girls variously take in visits to Stonehenge; the picturesque fishing village of Clovelly; the ruins of King Arthur's castle at Tintagel; and the Minak outdoor theatre at Porthcurno.

Eventually the three girls arrive at Lands End and see "The First and Last House in England". They go down to a deserted beach cove and change into their bikinis for some fun and games. Pam strays onto the neighbouring beach not realising it is part of private club owned by the Trewyn Sun Club. There she meets naturists Angela and Bridget who have the beach to themselves. Pamela calls her two pals to join them and soon the five girls become friends and Pamela, Petrina and Jackie have all shed their costumes to experience for themselves the uninhibited delights of naturism.

They play on the beach for a while and then Angela and Bridget invite the other three back to the sun club itself to have a look round the facilities and meet other members. The three girls enjoy themselves immensely with the new found freedom of being naked and the film ends with them still spending a pleasant relaxing day in the sunny outdoors - as nature intended.
Comment: The film is an hour long although the first 40 minutes is a kind of travelogue of the South West of England as the girls make their way to the coast - and the nudism element of the film does not begin until the final third of the film. However the journey is not uninteresting - it is well filmed (and in colour) and the narrator delivers some suitably corny dialogue that is reasonably entertaining. There is a soundtrack with some speech heard from the girls but the story is mostly told via the narrator's words.
Starring: Pamela Green (as Pamela), Petrina Forsyth (as Petrina), Jackie Salt (as Jackie), Angela Jones (as Angela), Bridget Leonard (as Bridget)
Featuring: Guy Kingsley Poynter (Narrator's voice), Stuart Samuels (multiple bit-parts in different guises)
NOTES:

The director/producer's name is credited as just "Harrison Marks". There is no specific writer's credit for the general story of the film although this is probably de facto Harrison Marks too. The commentary dialogue is credited as being written by Gerald Holgate.

This is one of a string of British films from around this time that managed to get around strict censorship rules on nudity by featuring stories involving naturism activities. This one probably has the best remembered title but others were:- Nudist Paradise (1959), Travelling Light (1961), Nudist Memories (1959), The Nudist Story (1960), Some Like It Cool (1961), Nudes of the World (1961), Sunswept (1961), World Without Shame (1962), Take off Your Clothes And Live! (1962), My Bare Lady (1963), Eves on Skis (1963), It's A Bare, Bare World! (1963), The Reluctant Nudist (1963).


Naked You Die (1968) Previous
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Writer: Antonio Margheriti / Director: Anthony Dawson / Producer: (not listed)
Type: Thriller Running Time: 93 mins
The version reviewed was in Italian with no subtitles and so the following summary is a vague outline of what appeared to be going on based on the visuals alone.

A young woman is having a bath when she is killed by an unseen intruder who puts her body into a trunk and takes it away. Next time we see the trunk it is on the top of a school minibus bringing the staff of St Hilda's Boarding College For Girls back for a new term. There is a new staff member aboard called Mrs Clay who is very stern looking with short hair and a gruff voice. On arrival the trunk is taken down to the basement and put in storage.

There are only a few older girls in residence all of whom are keen on men and fancy some of the male staff, in particular Richard Barrett whom Lucille is having an affair with. The groundkeeper La Floret is a creepy fellow and enjoys scaring the girls with sinister looks. Jill is a particularly nosey girl and always wants to know everything that's going on. Mrs Clay is considered by the staff to be a bit odd and not an easy person to talk to. When a girl called Betty Ann goes missing everyone starts looking for her unaware that she has been murdered by an unseen killer (as we the viewer saw occur).

Lucille has a shower at night before heading off for an assignation with Richard unaware that La Floret is hiding up a tree spying into the shower room. After she leaves another girl comes in and La Floret witnesses her being strangled to death by an unseen (to us) killer. The latest dead girl is discovered and the police are called in. Police Inspector Durand arrives and begins questioning the girls and staff. Nosey Jill hides a walkie-talkie in the room in which Durand is conducting his interviews so she can listen in. Groundkeeper La Floret knows who the killer is but cannot say without admitting he is a peeping tom and before long he too is murdered by the killer to cover their tracks.

We see Richard beginning to behave in a suspicious manner conducting himself surreptitiously. We also see Mrs Clay secretly following and watching Richard as he sneaks around the ground looking under bushes. Later on a badly scarred body is found in a lime pit and the police believe it is Mrs Clay because of the way she is dressed. Lucille goes to see Richard again in a school out-building. But she finds Richard badly injured and almost dead. The killer has struck again and reveals themselves to be Mrs Clay - who is in fact a man! (The lime pit body was actually Betty Ann dressed in Mrs Clay's clothing).

Mrs Clay holds a gun and chases Lucille. Then Jill comes by and gets caught up in the peril too. Jill is carrying her walkie-talkie and switches it to send instead of receive and broadcasts a help message into Durand's interview room. The killer has the girls cornered but then Durand arrives and shoots him dead. Richard recovers and Durand forgives Jill for eavesdropping on his conversations.
Comment: The killer's motives are probably revealed in the dialogue during the climax but I could not glean what they were from the visuals. The body in the trunk from the prologue is never discovered and it is unclear what the connection was unless she was the real Mrs Clay whom the killer murdered so he could take her place at the school and start doing his killing (for whatever reason he had). Supposition: The actress playing Mrs Clay (the "man" pretending to be a woman) looks similar to the prologue's bath victim so perhaps the killer was her brother using a family resemblance to take her place?
Starring: Michael Rennie (as Inspector Durand), Eleonora Brown (as Lucille, schoolgirl), Sally Smith (as Jill, schoolgirl), Mark Damon (as Richard Barrett), Vivienne Stapleton (as Miss Transfield, headmistress), Ludmila Lvova (as Mrs Clay, new teacher)
Featuring: Ester Masing (as Miss Martin, young teacher), Patrizia Valturri (as Denise, schoolgirl), Alan Collins (as La Floret, groundkeeper), Franco Derosa (as Detective Gabon), Aldo De Carellis (as Professor Andre, science master), John Hawkwood (as Di Brazzi, Gym master)
Starlets: Katleen Parker (as Betty Ann, schoolgirl, victim), Sylvia Dionisio (as Margaret, schoolgirl), Malisa Longo (as Cynthia Fellows, schoolgirl)
NOTES:

From a story by Giovanni Simonelli

This Italian film was reviewed because of the inclusion of two British actors, Michael Rennie and Sally Smith. The version reviewed was in dubbed Italian with no subtitles. Possibly it was originally filmed in English because when words are seen written down they are in English. It carried the Italian title of Nude... si muore

Despite the evocative title there is not actually very much nudity - just a couple of momentary glimpses of two uncredited actresses playing the victims. The principal cast were modestly filmed for any shower or undressing scenes they were required to perform.


Nana (1982) Previous
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Writer: (not shown) / Director: Dan Wolman / Producers: Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus
Type: European / Drama Running Time: 72 mins
Set in Paris in the late 1800's. The Minotaur Club is a famous bordello where the libertine gentlemen of Paris go to indulge in licentious front-of-house entertainment provided by scantily dressed girls. And if they require a more personal touch this too can be provided in the bordello's back rooms with a girl of the gentleman's choosing. Regular patrons include the rich banker Steiner and the newspaper columnist Faucherie. A nervous newcomer is young Hector Muffat, son of government minister Count Muffat, who has come to find out more about women so that he will know what to do when he marries his fiancée in his forthcoming wedding.

The Minotaur club is owned by Monsieur Fontan and that evening he is showcasing the new moving pictures invention of Georges Méliès with a presentation of a saucy sexual adventure film story for the amusement of his clientele. And to top it off, for one night only, he has the female star of the film in attendance who comes on at the end to take a bow. Her name is Nana and her beauty and innocent charm captivate the men there present. Hector is agape at her loveliness and Steiner and Faucherie ask Fontan if they can meet Nana backstage. Fontan agrees but Nana's temperamental maid Zoe won't let them in claiming her lady is too tired. Instead Fontan shows the men peepholes into Nana's dressing room so they can watch her. Steiner offers to pay Fontan excessive sums to go in and Fontan thusly overrides Zoe's objections and Steiner is allowed in. Nana is inexperienced in these matters but knows the kind of thing she is required to do in a place such as this. Steiner hands over some money to her and duly gets what he came for. Afterwards Zoe scolds Nana for giving it away so cheaply to Steiner and proceeds to coach her on how to go about it properly to maximise her gain. Nana learns that the more a girl holds out, the more rich men like Steiner will be willing to pay to have her, and that she must wait until expensive gifts are offered. Nana's debut was so successful that Fontan offers to let her stay on as one of his regular girls.

Hector arrives home late and his father, the Count, scolds him over his tardiness. Hector admits where he has been and why and his father is appalled - as a government minister he has a reputation to uphold and a family scandal would be unwelcome. Just today Count Muffat was chosen to play host to the Prince of Scotland on his imminent state visit and any whiff of family scandal could have jeopardises that.

During the Scottish Prince's visit Count Muffat takes him on a tour of Paris and they chance to pass the Minotaur Club. The fun-loving prince knows of the place by reputation and expresses an interest in partaking of its pleasures. The Count cannot refuse and reluctantly escorts him in overcoming his distaste for the establishment. Fontan is delighted to have such distinguished visitors and introduces his brightest star Nana to them both. Nana is very impressed by the Count's title which is something money cannot buy and she turns her full smouldering radiance in his direction. The Count is spellbound by her loveliness which enkindles needs within him that have long remained dormant. However the Count knows he could never patronise an establishment such as this and hope to remain in office and so with regret he leaves with desire unfulfilled.

Nana has quickly become Fontan's most lucrative girl for whose company men are queuing to enjoy. Nana knows she deserves more than Fontan pays her but when she asks for an increased cut Fontan claims his overheads are too steep to accommodate that. Nana is ambitious and the men who visit her are all wealthy, but one above them all is particularly fixated by her - the odious banker Steiner whose cravings she can only endure because of his generosity. Steiner's obsession has grown to an extent that he wants her at his exclusive behest and he offers her anything she asks for in return. Nana sees this as her opportunity to advance her ambitions and asks Steiner to buy her a big house all of her own to live in. Steiner readily agrees because money is no object to him especially as it will mean Nana will be at his sole disposal.

Nana duly leaves the Minotaur Club and takes residence at a fashionable town house in an exclusive neighbourhood. She is delighted by her new abode which gives her all the trappings of a respectable lady although she wishes it weren't all dependant on the goodwill of Steiner whose gropings she brooks with the finesse of an artisan. By chance Nana now lives right next door to Count Muffat and his family and the Count cannot believe that the vision of loveliness he met at the Minotaur Club is now right next door. Her very proximity causes him palpations and restless sleep wondering if he dares try and see her.

Nana excitedly organises her first house party lavishly spending Steiner's money whose misgivings about the cost are overridden by Nana's impish charm. As Nana knows full well, Steiner can deny her nothing if she showers him with kisses. The party has a sexual theme with huntsmen chasing the quarry of willing naked girls, rather than foxes, and then having sex with them once caught - all for the amusement of Nana's guests. One of the guests is a beautiful woman called Satin who gives Nana a look that Nana finds strangely compelling.

Next day Count Muffat pays Nana a visit on a neighbourly pretext. The power of Nana's sexuality makes it hard for the Count to think properly as raging desire overcomes him and he kisses her. Nana does not stop him because he possesses something that Steiner does not - a title. And in any event Steiner has been getting bothersome with his increasingly niggardly attitude to funding her whims. The Count must have plenty of money too and so she no longer needs Steiner.

When Steiner next tries to visit Nana he finds the door barred to him. When he demands to be let into what he considers to be his own house, Nana tells him that he bought the house in her name so it is hers and not his and she makes it roundly clear she does not want to ever see him again. Steiner leaves seething with fury but knows he can do little as he brought the situation on himself and was uncommonly carelessness in ceding the deeds in her name.

The Count is like a lovesick puppy around Nana who is willing to do anything to please her and Nana takes perverse delight in trying to find the limits to which he will slavishly demean himself at her behest. Nana finds men so easy to manipulate and use that it is hard to think of them as equals in love and her mind wanders to the strangely compelling woman called Satin to whom she was introduced at the party.

Nana seeks Satin out at a special club for women of a certain persuasion and begins a sensuous affair. Nana always has the upper hand with men because it is easy to exploit their raging desires and play with them like pets, but with Satin it is a partnership between equals that is exciting and mutually beneficial and Nana at last knows what true pleasure is via the gentle touch of another woman.

However Nana still has bills to pay and whims to be financed so keeping the Count sweet is still a necessity. Nana becomes interested in bare knuckle fighting and asks the Count to buy her a prize-fighter called Bijou for the massive sum of 500,000 francs. This is a small fortune and the Count objects that he cannot afford it but Nana tells him in that case he must borrow the money from Steiner's bank. She feels sure Bijou will be an excellent fighter and the money will be recouped in prizes and bets. Muffat knows it is a foolhardily risky venture but despite his serious misgivings he is helplessly in Nana's thrall and goes to the bank to borrow the money. Steiner agrees to lend the sum if he puts his house up as collateral and with heavy heart Muffat agrees. The money is used to purchase Bijou from his current owner.

A fight is convened against another champion to much interest and Nana is thrilled to be so closely involved in such an exciting sport. The match begins with bare knuckles but as the rounds progress, the fighters are outfitted with vicious attachments such as claws and foot spurs designed to draw the opponent's blood. It is a fight to the death and although Bijou puts up a good showing he is eventually bested and killed. Nana is disappointed but tells the Count not to worry for it was only money. The Count however is devastated and knows he is now ruined. Steiner gloats triumphantly and wastes no time in calling in the debt and evicting Muffat and his family and taking possession of their house. The Count wants to move in with Nana but she has bled him dry and subsequently he is of no further use to her so she refuses. The Muffats move to one of the Count's smaller properties and start to rebuild their lives.

Time passes and Nana decides to leave France and go to India to meditate. She leaves in a hot air balloon and all her friends are there to see her off. Nana was like a force of nature who touched the lives of many in lots of different ways and all are sad to see her go. Even Count Muffat is there, staying out of sight at the back, to quietly wave her off with a fondness that shows he holds no rancour and perhaps even regret that his time with her didn't last longer.
Starring: Katya Berger (as Nana), Jean-Pierre Aumont (as Count Muffat), Yehuda Efroni (as Steiner, banker)
Featuring: Shirin Taylor (as Zoe, Nana's maid), Mandy Rice-Davies (as Sabine, Count Muffat's wife), Massimo Serato (as Faucherie, gossip columnist), Debra Berger (as Satin, lesbian), Marcus Beresford (as Hector, Count Muffat's son), Annie Belle (as Rennée de Chéselles, Hector's fiancée), Robert Bridges (as Fontan, bordello owner), Paul Muller (as Dr Xavier Van Derve, bordello patron), Tom Felleghy (as Georges Méliès, filmmaker)
NOTES:

Loosely based on the novel by Emile Zola

This Italian produced film was made in English and is reviewed here because it featured British actresses Mandy Rice-Davies and Shirin Taylor


The Nanny (1965) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Seth Holt
Type: Suspense Thriller Running Time: 89 mins
The Fane family live in an apartment in London where recent events have torn their previously happy lives upside down. Their 10-year-old son Joey has spent some time receiving treatment in a psychiatric hospital and his mother Virginia is emotionally fragile at the thought of him returning to the household knowing what a problem child he has become. The Fane's have a live-in Nanny who has been part of their family ever since Virginia and her sister Pen were children themselves.

Ever since the tragic accidental death of the Fane's young daughter Susy for which Joey got blamed, the young boy started to develop an intense hatred and mistrust of Nanny and refused to allow her to do anything for him or to eat any meals she prepared. His behaviour became so irrational that he had to be sent away for treatment.

Upon his return it soon becomes evident that Joey has not changed and he is still paranoid about Nanny despite her best efforts to be accommodating to his unreasonable behaviour. Joey is convinced that Nanny is trying to poison him because he knows the truth about what happened to Susy but no one will believe him. They think he is just trying to talk himself out of trouble and Joey even starts to hate his mother for siding with Nanny instead of him.

Joey confides in a new friend that on the day of the tragedy Nanny went out unexpectedly and left him and his sister alone in the apartment - playing separately. Unbeknown to him Susy slipped into the empty bath and passed out while pretending to wash her dolls. When Nanny came home it was bath time and she turned on the water to run the bath without looking down properly and Susy drowned. But Nanny tried to say it was all Joey's fault and however much he protested his innocence Nanny's version of events stood.

Virginia falls ill after a meal and some poison is found in Joey's room which he vainly claims was planted by Nanny to get him into trouble - but of course no one will believe him. Virginia has to be rushed to hospital and his Aunt Pen comes to look after him because he refuses to be left alone with Nanny.

During the night Aunt Pen catches Nanny about to go into Joey's room with a pillow. Pen realises that Nanny was going to try to smother Joey to death and that the boy had been telling the truth about her all this time. Pen has a weak heart and with the strain of confrontation she suffers an attack - and as she lays dying Nanny confesses:- When Nanny went out on that fateful day she received some very upsetting news and had been in shock when she returned and automatically turned on the bath water without looking. When she realised what she'd done she turned the blame onto Joey. Now with no sign of Joey's defiance abating she is concerned that some day his story may be believed. Nanny feels it is her duty to protect the good name of Nannys everywhere who rely on the trust of the parents who employ them to care for their children.

After Pen dies Nanny resumes her attempt to silence Joey. He tries to get away but falls and knocks himself out and Nanny carries him to the bath to drown him. Nanny has a crazed look until she comes to her senses and releases him suddenly aware of the horrific thing she is attempting.

Nanny confesses properly and is taken away to be treated as a sick woman. Joey forgives his mother for not believing him and they have a happy reconciliation as Joey returns to being the loving and considerate boy he had always been.
Starring: Bette Davis (as The Nanny, [not given a name]), William Dix (as Joey Fane, the Fane's 10 year old son), Wendy Craig (as Virginia Fane, Joey's mother), James Villiers (as Bill Fane, Virginia' husband), Jill Bennett (as Aunt Pen, Virginia's sister), Pamela Franklin (as Bobbie Medman, Joey's friend)
Featuring: Jack Watling (as Dr Medman, Bobbie's father), Maurice Denham (as Dr Beamaster, at Psychiatric hospital)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White

Based on the novel The Nanny by Evelyn Piper


The National Health (1973) Previous
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Writer: Peter Nichols (based on his own play) / Director: Jack Gold / Producers: Ned Sherrin, Terry Glinwood
Type: Drama Running Time: 93 mins
There are essentially two scenarios that run through this film both of which are set in hospitals.

The first is set in the real world on a men's ward of a General Hospital. Everything is mundane, humdrum with tired staff getting on with their matter-of-fact routine work as the patients spend the long boring days chatting, socialising, some dying, some getting better. Nothing of immense plot interest really happens in this part of the story - which is probably the point.

This is contrasted with the lives of some fictional world doctors and nurses of a slick TV hospital-based melodrama called "Nurse Norton's Affair" where every day there is a medical crisis and the staff are forever caught up in various secret romantic relationships and professional jealousies - all underpinned with dramatic music. The main story told is one of a black nurse who loves a white doctor but his father (the surgeon) disapproves and wants him to marry his childhood sweetheart (another nurse) who actually secretly loves the father.
Comment: The real world is seen more from the patients point of view with the staff featuring mainly in a functional capacity; whereas the glossy soap is all about the staff with the only patients seen being treated are staff members who themselves have sudden medical emergencies. The staff are played by the same actors in both scenarios using markedly differing acting styles and adopting mock American accents for the soap world. There is no actual overall story reason for the dual scenarios - it is not for instance one of the characters dreaming of a more glamorous life. It flits fairly regularly from one to the other with no paralleling of contrasting ongoing events but just picking up with its own story where it last left off - of the two strands the soap world is probably the more entertaining.
Starring: (Staff - all with dual roles) Lynn Redgrave, Eleanor Bron, Jim Dale, Donald Sinden, Sheila Scott-Wilkinson, Neville Aurelius
(Patients) Colin Blakely, Bob Hoskins, Clive Swift
Featuring: (Staff - real world only) Gillian Barge, Maureen Pryor, Jumoke Debayo
(Patients) David Hutcheson, Mervyn Johns, Bert Palmer
(Others) George Browne (as The Chaplain), Patience Collier (as The Lady Visitor)
Familiar Faces: (Small roles) Robert Gillespie (Patient from another ward), James Hazeldine (Student Doctor)
NOTES:

Sheila Scott-Wilkinson and Neville Aurelius both receive "introducing" credits


Naughty Girls (1975) Previous
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Writer: (unspecified) / Director/Producer: Peter Shillingford
Type: Documentary / Sex / Anthology Running Time: 59 mins
This film sets out its raison d'être as an investigation into English girls who live abroad. Asking:- why they left, how their lifestyles changed, how they adapt and what they do now. There are four subjects featured as they are interviewed "in depth" about these things. The film is a strange mixture of travelogue and sex film, as each girl (in voiceover) is interviewed by the narrator as we see her out and about doing her job as she describes the location and what she's doing and then the narrator starts asking her about her sex life. The actual pictures don't have any dialogue and it is all told and explained in voiceover - which may or may not be in all/any cases the same actress seen on screen. The third story's voiceover for instance sounds suspiciously like Barbara Windsor or Wendy Richard.

The area of the world chosen is South East Asia. First we go to Bangkok where Nancy Westover works for the embassy as a press attaché showing visiting dignitaries around. On this occasion she is showing a young Italian minister around town - including a massage parlour and finally gets friendly with him herself in the back of a limousine.

Next we visit Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and see Dr Brenda Watson as she works as a childcare specialist touring the small villages looking after the locals and working at the main hospital where she and her boyfriend Tom work. She and Tom also take some time out to do some skinny dipping in a nearby lake. And she does some more skinny dipping alone later when she is being spied upon by a local.

After that is Bali where Cathy Scott is staying while working as a travel writer writing articles on the local amenities and tourist attractions for home consumption. Then in Sydney, Australia is Kate Adams, a physical education teacher who has a romantic dream about being chased through the sand dunes on a horse by three ruffians in dragsters and then being saved by a stranger.
Comment: It is beautifully filmed like a documentary with lots of nice scenery. The ratio of travelogue to sex/story is about 55%/45% in favour of the travelogue.
Starring: Brenda Holder (as Nancy Westover), Angela Unwin (as Dr Brenda Watson), and two unknown actresses (as Cathy Scott and Kate Adams)
NOTES:

This is a film that does not appear on IMDB (last checked December 2005) and the film itself has no cast list. It just credits the producer/director. The only reference found to this film has been in a reference book "The British Film Catalogue" where it lists just two of the cast members including their character names which tally with those used in the film. The film has an on-screen copyright date of 1975 and was made by Border Films.


Naughty! (1971) Previous
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aka: Naughty! A Report on Pornography and Erotica
Writers: Stanley Long, Suzanne Mercer / Director/Producer: Stanley Long
Type: Documentary Running Time: 80 mins
A documentary about public attitudes to porn and censorship in Britain in the early 70s. Interspersed with dramatised portions showing how the Victorians did it.
Starlets: Nina Francis, Jane Cardew, Olive McFarland, Vivienne Carmichael, Yvonne Paul, Heather Chasen
NOTES:

The opening caption reads:- "The film you are about to see deals with the facts and attitudes surrounding pornography and erotica, both past and present. It is not intended for the film to hold an opinion for or against censorship or legislation but merely, it is hoped, to provide a basis for a better understanding"


Nearest and Dearest (1972) Previous
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Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley / Director: John Robins / Producer: Michael Carreras
Type: Sitcom Spin-off Running Time: 82 mins
Nellie Pledge is a ageing spinster who runs the family business, Pledge's Purer Pickles, on behalf of her elderly and ailing father Joshua who founded the company. When Joshua dies he leaves the firm to be run jointly by Nellie and her brother Eli who has to be traced via a newspaper advertisement. Eli has never been interested in the business and has stayed out of touch for fifteen years doing his own thing - which mainly includes enjoying the company of much younger women. However the terms of the will state that the company must be run jointly by the siblings for five more years before it can be sold for the £20,000 it is worth - So Eli is obliged to stay.

Eli and Nellie do not get on very well and are forever bickering. They have different views on how to run the firm - Eli wants to modernise whilst Nellie want to keep things as they have always been. When the squabbling siblings observe an old family tradition and go on a holiday together to Blackpool, Eli decides to try and find Nellie a suitable husband. He meets woman-shy bachelor Vernon Smallpiece who owns his own pickle factory and encourages him to court Nellie with a view to marriage. Eli plans to let Vernon run his side of the business so he can take a back seat and not need to stick around. Nellie is thrilled at Vernon's unexpected interest in her because she has never had the opportunity to marry after spending all her life looking after her old father and running the business.

But unbeknown to either sibling Vernon is secretly bankrupt and is only interested in marrying Nellie so that he can dip into the company books to pay off his debts. But luckily on the day of the wedding the law catches up with him and he is arrested. Nellie is pragmatic about the matter and Eli realises that he is stuck with the situation and will have to remain and make the best of it.
Starring: Hylda Baker (as Nellie Pledge), Jimmy Jewel (as Eli Pledge)
Norman Mitchell (as Vernon Smallpiece)
Featuring: (other TV cast) Madge Hindle (as Lily, Nellie and Eli's cousin), Eddie Malin (as Walter, Lily's husband), Joe Gladwin (as Stan Hardman), Bert Palmer (as Bert Henshawe)
Yootha Joyce (as Mrs Rhoda Rowbottom, boarding house landlady), John Barrett (as Joshua Pledge, Nellie and Eli's old father), Kerry Jewel (as Claude, simple factory tea lad), Peter Madden (as Court Bailiff), Norman Chappell (as Man on Bus, [one scene])
Starlets: Pat Ashton (as Freda, Eli's girlfriend/secretary), Sue Hammer (as Scarlet O'Hara, factory girl), Carmel Cryan (as Club Hostess), Adele Warren (as Club Stripper)
NOTES:

Based on the ITV sitcom by Vince Powell and Harry Driver that ran for 45 episodes over seven series from 1968 to 1973. This film used the full TV cast and re-told the scenario-establishing events of the first episode rather than presenting a brand new story.


Ned Kelly (1970) Previous
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Writers: Tony Richardson, Ian Jones / Director: Tony Richardson / Producer: Neil Hartley
Type: Western Running Time: 99 mins
Set in Victoria, Australia in the 1870s when British and Irish colonial pioneers are taming the outback lands. The English dominated controlling classes are often at odds with the Irish labouring community who work the land with an American cowboy modelled ethos. The English landowners think that all the Irish are cattle thieves and criminals by nature and so the police forces adopt a fairly heavy-handed approach to law and order to keep the Irish in line resulting in ill-feeling and many run-ins.

Proud Irishman Edward 'Ned' Kelly has just returned home to his mother and siblings after having spent time in jail for horse thieving. Ned is a calm and thoughtful man who enjoys reading and although not violent by nature he can handle himself well in a fight and be confrontational at times. Ned restarts his life admirably at first getting himself a job managing a sawmill. But after a time he has disagreements with a landowner and Ned and his friends decide to liberate the landowner's cattle stockade and then flee into the bush (uncleared forested region). The police consider Ned to be an iniquitous man who needs to be brought to justice and show people that this sort of action will not be tolerated. Some constables are sent into the bush to arrest Ned and his friends, but in a shooting standoff the lawmen are killed. In the attitudes of the day Ned considers his actions reasonable self-defence but the authorities don't see it that way and he becomes a wanted man accused of cold-blooded murder.

Ned and his gang become hunted bushrangers who take to a life of crime. Ned's principles hold firm and he avoids killing and ensures he robs from the rich and passes his gains onto poor families. Ned becomes a folk hero which make the authorities even more determined to apprehend him in order to quell a spirit of revolt. So they employ professional Indian trackers to help find Ned and his fugitive cohorts. To protect themselves Ned and his men decide to forge themselves body armour capable of withstanding bullets. Ned wants to deliver the police a crushing blow and devises a plan to lure them to a remote area by robbing a bank and then derailing and ambushing the train on which the police arrive. If successful he hopes the police will finally give up the chase and his supporters will be encouraged to begin a rebellious uprising that will lead to the formation of a republic.

But unfortunately the police receive a warning and the train is not wrecked and Ned and his men become pinned down in a siege. Ned finally loses all reason and rushes the police lines in his body armour. He is not killed but becomes overwhelmed by the noise of the bullets hitting his metal shell and is finally captured. Ned is tried and sentenced to hang.
Comment: Based on the true story of the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (1854-1880)
Starring: Mick Jagger (as Ned Kelly)
Featuring: Clarissa Kaye (as Mrs Kelly, Ned's mother), Mark McManus (as Joe Byrne, Ned's friend), Ken Goodlet (Superintendent Nicholson, police chief), Bruce Barry (as George King, Mrs Kelly man friend), Janne Wesley (as Caitlyn, Ned's woman)
(Kelly family Members) Allen Bickford, Diane Craig, Alexi Long, Susan Lloyd
(The above are just a selection of names from the large cast list - most of which only have small roles)


Negatives (1968) Previous
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Writers: Peter Everett, Roger Lowry / Director: Peter Medak / Producer: Judd Bernard
Type: Drama Running Time: 98 mins
Theo and Vivien are a tempestuous couple who live together at Theo's antique shop. They are able to have sex only by immersing themselves into the characterisations of historical lovers for which they dress up and playact the roles. The scenario that seems to work best for them both is one in which he plays the part of notorious Victorian murderer Dr Crippens and she the two separate roles of his wife and lover. When being themselves they can barely seem to stand one another.

A mysterious woman called Reingard enters Theo's life. She is a German photographer who says she has been observing the couple's strange relationship and is fascinated by it. Reingard tells Theo that he reminds her of a World War One flying ace called Baron von Richthofen of whom she has a special interest because her father was a member of his squadron - she shows him photos of the pilot. Reingard behaves in a very seductive manner and Theo becomes intrigued by her and he begins to read more about the Baron's life.

Reingard rents a room above the couple's shop and she and Vivien get on well although Vivien is unaware of their new lodger's prior contact with Theo. Vivien wants to let Reingard join in with their Crippen fantasy but Theo has now become dissatisfied with that role. He finds out more and more about Baron von Richthofen and buys up German memorabilia and uniforms and even finds an old single seater fighter similar to the Baron's that was headed for the scrap yard. He has the plane restored and painted in the Baron's colours and installed in their flat roof garden. He burns the Crippen identity and immerses himself fully into the identity of Baron von Richthofen.

Vivien hates this development and cannot see where the sex in it is - she wants to carry on doing Crippens but Theo has become obsessed with his own solo flying dogfight adventures that he pictures in his head while sitting in the plane. Vivien sees that she is losing Theo to Reingard and the German identity and she starts trying to destroy the plane. Theo hits her which results in her having to be taken off to hospital with concussion. Reingard decides she has seen enough now and decides it is time for her to move on after having built up a photographic record of the strange couple and forever changed their lives as a result of her interest.
Starring: Peter McEnery (as Theo), Glenda Jackson (as Vivien), Diane Cilento (as Reingard)
Featuring: Maurice Denham (as Theo's Father), Billy Russell (as Furniture restorer)
Familiar Faces: Norman Rossington (as Auctioneer), Stephen Lewis (as Scrapyard Dealer, credited here as Steven Lewis - but it is the same actor best known for his "On The Buses" role)
NOTES:

Based on the novel by Peter Everett.


Neither the Sea Nor the Sand (1972) Previous
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Writer: Gordon Honeycombe (from his own novel) / Director: Fred Burnley / Producers: Jack Smith, Peter Fetterman
Type: Chiller Running Time: 91 mins
Anna Robinson is a young married woman taking a short break from her humdrum life by visiting Jersey. She is discontented in her marriage but feels trapped within it and is looking for something new but doesn't really know what. While visiting the lighthouse she meets a young man called Hugh Dabernon who works at the airport and is also an amateur historian. He shows her around some of the historic sights and they feel a special spark between them as they spend the day together. Hugh offers to let her stay overnight at his place and he takes her home where he lives with his older brother George who is somewhat disapproving of the arrangement but offers her hospitality. Anna and Hugh spend the night together and both find the experience beautiful and she says she wants to be with him always. Next day they arrange to meet again after he has finished work. Anna has phoned her husband who cannot believe that she could meet and fall in love with someone else so quickly - that everything could change in the space of a week. Anna and Hugh decide to go away together for a holiday in Scotland and rent a cottage near the sea. They are both immensely happy and hope it can always be like this.

The next day while running gleefully like children on the beach Hugh suddenly collapses. Anna is in a panic and doesn't know what to do to help him - she rushes back to the holiday cottage and gets help. But when the doctor arrives he pronounces Hugh to be dead. Anna cries her eyes out over Hugh saying he can't possibly leave her now they were so happy together. She is given a sedative and the doctor writes out a death certificate for Hugh stating a haemorrhage leading to heart attack as the cause.

That night still in a state of shock Anna sees a shadowy figure walking past her cottage windows and then there is a knock. She opens the door and it is Hugh - still very much alive! She is so happy but angered at the doctor for having made such a dreadful mistake. She decides to go back to Jersey with Hugh immediately the next morning. Hugh is unresponsive as if he can't talk and she mothers him protectively believing he must be in shock or have been affected by the stroke he had. But he can understand what is said to him and follow her instructions.

Back at the Jersey cottage Anna tries to get Hugh to repeat simple words to her but he cannot - but then she hears his voice communicating directly into her head expressing his love for her. When George gets home he listens to her story and examines Hugh. But he realises that although animate, Hugh is not actually alive - he has no pulse and his flesh is cold and is unable to feel pain. George is a religious man and he reasons that Hugh's soul has reinhabited his dead body unable to let go of his love for her. George tells her that Hugh needs to be taken to a priest so that he can be exorcised and allowed to rest in peace. Anna refuses to believe it and declines to accompany them as George drives Hugh away - but on the winding cliff top road Hugh interferes with the steering and forces George off the road plummeting him to his death on the beach below - whilst Hugh leaps to safety.

The increasingly gaunt-looking Hugh returns to the cottage and Anna vows to care for him and go on as before - but later when she kisses him and his breath reeks of death she is repulsed and realises it is true and he is truly dead. She rejects him and tells him to please die and leave her alone now because she wants to continue living. He leaves the house and walks down to the beach alone. Anna then has time to reflect on things and understand her true feelings and comes to a decision. She knows what she must do and joins him as they walk across the flooding causeway to the lighthouse together until they are swept away by the rising sea to spend forevermore together in death.
Starring: Susan Hampshire (as Anna Robinson), Michael Petrovitch (as Hugh Dabernon)
Featuring: Frank Finlay (as George Dabernon), Michael Craze (as Collie, Hugh's friend), Jack Lambert (Dr Irving), Betty Duncan (Mrs MacKay, Scottish landlady), David Garth (Mr MacKay, Scottish landlord), Tony Booth (as Delamare)
NOTES:

Although Frank Finlay receives second (pre-title) billing after Susan Hampshire, his role is actually relatively small.

Michael Petrovitch receives an "introducing" credit. It never really seems to be properly spelt out what Hugh's actual job at the airport is - the most we seem to discover is that he has a responsible job and lives depend on the decisions he makes - so maybe he's a pilot or perhaps works in traffic control. But he is definitely not the lighthouse keeper as is shown on the IMDB summary.

Title comes from a quotation:- Neither the sea nor the sand will kill their love, nor the wind take it away from them ...

The nudity for Susan Hampshire's character was filmed in such a way that a body double is very likely to have been used.

On IMDB Anthony Booth is shown as appearing in this film (last checked: Sept 2006). However, it is not the well-known actor who is best known for his role in BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part - it is in fact a completely different actor who is actually credited on-screen as Tony Booth.


Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960) Previous
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aka: Never Take Candy from a Stranger
Writer: John Hunter / Director: Cyril Frankel / Producer: Anthony Hinds
Type: Thriller Running Time: 81 mins
Set in Canada in the present day (1960). Peter Carter is a Canadian who has been living and working in England for many years as a teacher and has now returned to Canada along with his British wife Sally and their 9-year old daughter Jean. He has accepted the post of school principal in the prosperous go-ahead small town community of Jamestown. The town was founded many years ago on the back of the logging trade by Clarence Olderberry and now his rich family are the backbone of the society with influences everywhere. Clarence is now a semi-senile old man and during the day lives alone in the family mansion near the woods.

One day young Jean is out playing in the woods with her friend Lucille and they are invited into the Olderberry mansion for some candy. Later that evening Jean is quite innocently relating her day to her parents and tells them that as part of a game old Mr Olderberry asked them to dance naked for them in return for the candy.

The Carters are shocked and go to the police. But they find that the townspeople are reluctant to accept their version of events which don't sound all that bad anyway even if true. No one wants to speak out against the Olderberry's because many of their livelihoods depend on that family's businesses. Olderberry's son Richard is head of the family and highly defensive of his father. He cannot believe his father would have tried to harm the girls and anything that went on was either just a harmless game or a product of Jean's overactive imagination. But he warns Peter that if the matter comes to court his barrister will pull no punches in his cross-examination of Jean's story. The Carters discover that a few years ago Clarence Olderberry spent some voluntary time in a sanatorium for unspecified reasons and believe he is still ill and it is important to establish his guilt so that he can be properly looked after and other children will be protected. They therefore press on with the charges and a court case ensues.

As warned the Olderberry barrister uses verbal trickery to pull apart the 9-year old's account of events when she takes the witness stand. He suggests that she undressed of her own accord and should herself be psychologically assessed. The Carters drop the charges to protect Jean from any further upset and Clarence is therefore found not guilty. Richard is magnanimous in victory and tells Peter that he is welcome to stay in his job.

But the Carters decide to leave the area and on the day of the departure Jean is walking along a lane saying final farewells to Lucille when they are confronted by Clarence offering them more candy. They flee into the woods in terror and Clarence follows. When the Carters discover Jean is missing a police search is mounted with sniffer dogs and this leads them to the river where in an old trapper's hut they discover Clarence standing over the body of a little girl whom he has murdered. The dead girl turns out to be Lucille - Jean managed to get away to safety although she is left in shock at her terrifying experience. Richard arrives on the scene in total astonishment and incomprehension that his father has done such a terrible thing because he genuinely believed that the whole accusation had been without foundation.
Starring: Patrick Allen (as Peter Carter, Jean's father), Gwen Watford (as Sally Carter, Peter's wife and Jean's mother), Alison Leggatt (as Martha, Sally's mother), Janina Faye (as Jean Carter), Bill Nagy (as Richard Olderberry)
Featuring: Niall MacGinnis (as Mr Slade, defence counsel), Michael Gwynn (as Mr Duggan, prosecutor), Budd Knapp (as Captain Hammond, local police), Felix Aylmer (as Clarence Olderberry Sr), Frances Green (as Lucille, Jean's friend)
NOTES:

Based on the Pony Cart by Roger Garris

Made in Black and White

The version reviewed carried the title Never Take Candy From A Stranger. "Candy" is the North American word for "Sweets" and is actually more accurate here because although it is a Hammer production it is set in Canada and the word "Candy" is the one used in the dialogue.


A Nice Girl Like Me (1969) Previous
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Writers: Anne Piper, Desmond Davis / Director: Desmond Davis / Producer: Roy Millichip
Type: Drama Running Time: 90 mins
Candida Soames is a schoolgirl of about 16 or 17 years old who has lived most of her life in boarding school. Her mother died in childbirth and her father is constantly abroad in the Foreign Service and she hardly sees him or really even knows him properly. One day in June everything changes when her father dies in an accident and she leaves school to stay with her maiden aunts, Mary and Celia. Candida has inherited a modest income together with her father's London townhouse, but the aunts deem her too young to live there by herself just yet. Candida spends the rest of that year and the winter with her aunts growing increasingly restive and wanting to experience more of the world. She has barely even met a boy let alone spoken to one in her sheltered life. So the following spring she decides she is going to France under the pretext of improving her language skills but really to become more independent and see a bit of the world she is missing.

During her time in Paris Candida revels in the freedom and finds delight in everything she sees. When she meets a young romantic Frenchman called Pierre she thinks she has fallen in love - but after one night of unsatisfactory passion with him the shine of Paris seems to fade. She becomes disillusioned and decides to return to England and live in her inherited London townhouse.

There she is reunited with Savage, the good-natured live-in caretaker whom she recalls so fondly from when she stayed here with her father as a little girl. He is a bit of a father figure for her and they enjoy a bond of deep comradely affection as they share the house together. She soon discovers she is pregnant from her Parisian affair and although Savage shows disappointment in her lack of self-control he is also very supportive. She decides she wants to have and keep the baby and before long baby Valentine is born. With Savage's help she brings up the baby and is a good and loving mother. After six months she decides she needs a break and she leaves baby Valentine with her aunts while she goes on a two-week cultural tour of Venice. She is in the company of a retired schoolmistress called Miss Grimsby who shows her all the sites with such an assiduous gusto that she wears herself out and has to take a couple of days of bed rest. Left to her own devices Candida meets a rich young American called Ed who is on a tour of Europe while draft dodging. He shows her a good time and they end up in bed together. Candida thinks she has fallen in love with him and suggests marriage - but this scares Ed off as he is simply after a jolly and thought she was as well.

On her way home, just as her train is leaving an Italian station, Candida is leaning from her window and is unexpectedly handed a baby girl called Angelina by an Italian woman on the platform who wants her to have a good home. Candida now finds herself with two baby girls to look after and before long discovers she is pregnant once again. Savage is baffled at what becomes of her common sense whenever she goes abroad - but his easygoing nature is prepared to go along with just about anything she springs upon him. He cautions her that a nice girl like her might find it hard now to attract the kind of man she deserves.

Candida's inherited money is running low and she knows she really ought to find a suitable husband. Her aunts introduce her to Freddie Lanchester who works for the Foreign Office. He is dependable but dull and Candida doesn't find any special spark with him but decides she is in no position to be choosy and woos him into proposing to her. Savage helps her by pretending to be her butler and even shaves off his beard to play the part which takes years off his appearance. Freddie proposes and the two of them get as far as wedding rehearsal preparations when Candida realises she just cannot do it - she's grateful to Freddie for being prepared to take on her children but a relationship built on gratitude just isn't enough.

She goes back home to her ever dependable Savage and it suddenly dawns on them both that they behave so much like an affectionate deep-seated couple anyway in their domestic arrangements that they should marry. The film ends with this looking likely to happen as they take their first tentative kiss.
Starring: Barbara Ferris (as Candida Soames), Harry Andrews (as Savage), James Villiers (as Freddie Lancaster)
Featuring: Bill Hinnant (as Ed, American Candida has affair with in Venice), Christopher Guinee (as Pierre, Frenchman Candida has affair with in Paris), Gladys Cooper (as Aunt Mary), Joyce Carey (as Aunt Celia), Fabia Drake (as Miss Grimsby, Venice trip companion)
Familiar Faces: Miriam Margoyles (as Italian Waitress), Erik Chitty (as Vicar)
Starlets: Susan Whitman (as Labour Ward Nurse)
NOTES:

Based on Anne Piper's Marry at Leisure.


Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) Previous
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Writer: James Goldman / Director: Franklin J. Schaffner / Producer: Sam Spiegel
Type: Historical Drama Running Time: 177 mins
Historical drama telling the story of the changing fortunes of the Tsar of Russia Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra. This summary only provides a brief overview of some of the key events seen in the film.

It begins at the start of the 20th century with the joyous event of the birth of their first son Alexi. Nicholas and Alexandra already had four daughters but now with their first son they have assured the continuation of the Romanov dynasty which has ruled Russia for 300 years.

However it soon becomes clear that Alexi is unwell and is afflicted by haemophilia meaning his blood is slow to clot and any bleeds he has could be fatal - even everyday grazes. He is therefore treated with extra care to shield him from harm and is a constant concern for the parents. Alexandra seeks the counsel of a peasant monk called Rasputin who is said to have special healing powers and an innate insight into the course of future events. She believes that Alexis will be safe as long as the monk is close to hand and she therefore overlooks the excesses of Rasputin's hedonistically corrupt lifestyle.

Nicholas is a well-intentioned man who is benevolent by nature but enters Russia into a disastrous war with Japan in 1904 which leads to a crushing defeat. A growing mood of revolutionary discontent gives rise to a radical Bolshevik movement whose principal players are Stalin and Trotsky.

The story moves on a decade and political unrest is rife across Europe. In 1914 war breaks out and Russia sides with England and France against Germany. Patriotism briefly overrides internal unrest, but as the war continues Nicholas makes what the people and agitators consider to be unwise decisions which result in crushing military defeats. The Bolshevik movement gains momentum and Nicholas becomes a hated figure. A politician called Lenin comes to prominence. Tsar Nicholas is eventually forced into a position where he has no choice but to abdicate and place the country in the hands of the Duma (parliament).

The new leaders are indecisive about what to do with the Romanov family who are placed into custody and moved from place to place for a year. Some say they should be allowed to live abroad in exile and others demand they must be executed for the misery they brought upon the Russian people and for all the millions of brave soldiers who died in the still ongoing war. Eventually orders come through that Nicholas, Alexandra and all five of their children must be executed and this is carried out without fanfare or ceremony or any prior warning to the family by their guards in July 1918 just as the Romanov's were allowed to start becoming optimistic for their future.
Starring: Michael Jayston (as Tsar Nicholas II), Janet Suzman (as Empress Alexandra), Tom Baker (as Rasputin)
Featuring: (Nicholas and Alexandra's family) Roderic Noble (as Alexei), Ania Marson (as Olga), Lynne Frederick (as Tatiana), Candace Glendenning (as Marie), Fiona Fullerton (as Anastasia), Harry Andrews (as Grand Duke Nicholas, Tsar's uncle)
Timothy West (as Dr Botkin, treating Alexei), Eric Porter (as Stolypin, Prime Minister), Michael Bryant (as Lenin), Brian Cox (as Trotsky), James Hazeldine (as Stalin)
(also appearing) Michael Redgrave, Maurice Denham, John McEnery, Ian Holm
Star-Turns: Laurence Olivier (as Statesman, cameo role)
NOTES:

From the book by Robert K. Massie. Additional dialogue by Edward Bond


The Night Caller (1965) Previous
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Writer: Jim O'Connolly / Director: John Gilling / Producer: Ronald Liles
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 78 mins
Scientists at the Falsey Park Government Radio and Electronics Research Establishment detect a fast moving object falling to Earth which then slows down as if under guidance. Head scientist Dr Morley and his assistants Jack Costain and Ann Barlow visit the landing site which the army have cordoned off. The object is a small white sphere which is taken back to the laboratory for study where analysis shows it is a protective silicon shell housing a vacuum but its purpose is unclear.

That evening Ann is alone in the laboratory typing up some notes when the object starts to glow and when she goes to investigate she is grabbed by a creature with a clawed hand. She gets away and raises the alarm but the army can find no trace of an intruder. Further analysis of the object indicates it is an energy valve for an immense power source strong enough to act as a receiver for matter transmutation from another planet which the intruder must have used to come and go. Next evening Dr Morley stands watch over the object to observe the process but when a humanoid creature appears it attacks and kills him and then escapes the establishment taking the sphere with it.

A month passes and the police are investigating the mysterious disappearance of over twenty young women in the London area. Associated reports of an unusual looking stranger link the events to the fugitive space visitor who has thus far eluded capture. It turns out that all the missing girls replied to an advert in "Bikini Girl" magazine for modelling work and disappeared after attending an interview with a heavily masked man who calls himself Medra.

Advert respondents replied to a correspondence address from which the stranger collects his mail every couple of days. The police put the address under surveillance andwhen he arrives Ann goes in to talk to Medra to ask him about the purpose of his visit. The stranger is from a moon of Jupiter called Ganymede where his advanced civilisation brought about its own genetic self-destruction a millennia ago and now the survivors are struggling to recover from their self-inflicted mutations. The alien stranger then kills Ann as being unsuitable for his needs because she is too dangerously inquisitive - and then he escapes.

The scientists co-ordinate all the world's radio telescopes to pinpoint the power surge associated with the matter transmitter's usage and rush to the location with the army to try and capture the alien. Medra informs the scientists and officials that his mission is now complete and promises the kidnapped girls will come to no harm. They have been taken as breeding stock to enable his people to renew their damaged gene pool to help them recover. Medra then uses the sphere to return to Ganymede and the sphere then explodes. The film ends here and the kidnapped girls are not rescued.
Starring: Maurice Denham (as Dr Morley, head scientist), John Saxon (as Dr Jack Costain, scientist), Patricia Haines (as Ann Barlow, analysis expert), Alfred Burke (as Detective Superintendent Hartley), John Carson (as Army Major)
Featuring: Warren Mitchell and Marianne Stone (as Parents of a missing girl), Aubrey Morris (as Thorburn, seedy bookshop owner), Barbara French (as Joyce Malone, model applicant), Stanley Meadows (as Detective Tom Grant), Ballard Berkeley (as Commander Savage, special branch), Jack Watson (as Sgt Hawkins, army), Robert Crewdson (as Medra, the alien)
NOTES:

Made in black and white

From the novel by Frank Crisp


Night Hair Child (1972) Previous
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aka: Night Child; What The Peeper Saw
Writer: Trevor Preston / Director: James Kelly / Producer: Graham Harris
Type: Thriller Running Time: 95 mins
Elise has recently married Paul Bizant after a whirlwind romance and gone to live at his villa in Spain. Paul is away on business when his 12-year-old son Marcus returns home an unexpected week early from his boarding school in England. Elise has not yet met her new stepson and finds him an unusual boy - very bright and angelic looking but somewhat uncommunicative as if he condescends to answer questions if engaged but feels he is far more intelligent than those around him. He tells her that his school had an outbreak of chicken pox and the pupils were sent home early.

Her husband Paul clearly dotes on the boy and when he returns home there is a degree of affection between them that Elise finds rather disconcerting. Paul tells her that Marcus might appear distant but what he needs is love, warmth and understanding because he is still in grief at the death of his mother some two years previously.

An amount of money goes missing from Paul's desk and Elise is fairly sure that Marcus took it although he denies it. She secretly searches his room and finds fragments of a torn up letter sent to her and Paul from Marcus' school. She takes a trip to England to visit the school and is told by the headmaster that Marcus was actually expelled for extreme levels of misbehaviour and disobedience which included peeping at courting couples and killing a pet animal.

Elise discovers that Marcus' bad behaviour began when his mother died. She had died in a bath and it was Marcus who found her. Apparently an electric heater beside the bath had shorted and made the pipework live and the shock caused a heart attack from a previously unknown heart condition.

Marcus tells his father that Elise doesn't like her and cites various examples like her searching his room for the money which ended up being found at the back of Paul's' desk drawer although Elise is convinced that's because he returned it. Elise begins to feel excluded from the special bond that father and son share. When Paul goes away on a business trip Elise has a look round upstairs in the attic and discovers some peepholes down into her and Paul's bedroom. When she confronts Marcus he does not deny it and says it turned him on. She demands to know more about his mother and what he actually knew about her death. Marcus agrees but insists upon an exchange and tells her if she strips for him he will tell her what she wants to know. She is desperate to know so she goes along with his schoolboy games and takes off her clothes and he tells her that his mother's death was not an accident and that he murdered her. He knew from reading her private correspondence with a specialist that she had a weak heart and engineered the whole thing.

When Paul returns home Elise shows him where the peephole was but Marcus has sealed it up and Paul is not sure who to believe - he suspects his wife is becoming neurotic. She agrees to see a psychiatrist called Dr Viorne to talk through her concerns about the boy. But Viorne has been primed with the fact that she stripped in front of a young boy and this weighs heavily against her credibility and state of mind and she is committed to an institute for treatment. During her stay she has various fantasies of both killing Marcus and of sleeping with him.

When she is released she and Marcus make efforts for a reconciliation and on a walk in the park with the family dog she makes tender gestures towards him with a somewhat inappropriately passionate kiss. He admits that he was planning to kill her but now quite likes her - and in fact intimates that he is finding his own father a bit of a bore and perhaps they should collude to do away with him and collect on his insurance. Elise appears to think this is a good idea but then as a car speeds by on the parkside road she throws the dog's ball deliberately into the path of the car and when Marcus sees his beloved dog giving chase he runs to stop it but gets knocked down by the car himself and is killed. Elise is not happy at her actions but had come to realise it was necessary to rid herself of the danger he presented.
Starring: Mark Lester (as Marcus), Britt Ekland (as Elise), Hardy Krüger (as Paul)
Featuring: Lilli Palmer (as Dr Viorne, psychiatrist), Harry Andrews (as Headmaster), Conchita Montes (as Sophie, family friend)
Starlets: Collette Jack (as Sarah, Paul's first wife)


Night Must Fall (1964) Previous
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Writer: Clive Exton / Director: Karel Reisz / Producers: Albert Finney, Karel Reisz
Type: Thriller Running Time: 97 mins
Prologue: As things begin we see a man whom we later discover is called Danny chopping with an axe in a wooded area and then disposing of a woman's body and the axe in a nearby lake. (End of prologue)

In a large house on the outskirts of a town and situated near to the woods lives Mrs Hettie Bramson, an elderly lady, not quite infirm but more comfortable using a wheelchair to get around. She lives with her beautiful grown-up daughter Olivia and has a home-helper called Dora who comes in each day to cook and help Mrs Bramson with daily essentials. Dora has a young man to whom she has become engaged and is keen for Mrs Bramson to meet him to see what she thinks. Her fiancé arrives and he is Danny (the man in the prologue) who works as a barman in a nearby pub. Danny is a bit of a charmer and Mrs Bramson finds him adorable and so when Danny says he is handy with painting and decorating Mrs Bramson makes him an offer of live-in accommodation if he works on the house. Danny readily accepts much to Olivia's dismay who does not like the man although it is clear that Danny finds her rather more appealing than his fairly plain but devoted fiancée Dora.

Danny and Mrs Bramson get on famously and his playful ways appeal to her long unused sense of fun. But when alone in his room Danny's true insecure character emerges with painful memories of something from his past haunting him and we discover (although don't see) that he has something gruesome hidden in a hatbox. Nearby the police have mounted an extensive search of the woodland for a missing local woman.

Danny continues to try to mellow Olivia and she starts to get curious about him and when the relationship she is in with her long-distance boyfriend fails she falls for Danny's ebullient charms and they start an affair. Meanwhile the police find the headless body of the woman they are looking for and it becomes a murder investigation. (Note: we can surmise although never see that the head is what Danny has in his hatbox).

While Olivia is in town Mrs Bramson and Danny are having fun playing a juvenile chase game around the house after she has teasingly told him he needs a smack for something he did a bit wrong. They have great fun until she becomes worn out and calls a halt. But Danny does not want to stop and suddenly comes over childishly angry because he still wants her to smack him. When she says he is being foolish and the game is now over he goes away petulantly and then comes back with a knife and stabs her to death.

When Olivia comes home she finds the aftermath of this and calls the police. Danny is upstairs having a bath and at first is verbally threatening to her but soon sinks into a meek and terrified regressive state reliving memories of how he was badly mistreated as a child which has so tragically affected his adult behaviour. THE END
Starring: Albert Finney (as Danny), Mona Washbourne (as Mrs Hettie Bramson), Susan Hampshire (as Olivia Bramson, Hettie's daughter), Sheila Hancock (as Dora, Hettie's home help and Danny's fiancée)
Featuring: Michael Medwin (as Derek, Olivia's boyfriend), Martin Wyldeck (as Police Inspector Willett), Joe Gladwin (as Dodge, Bramson's gardener)
NOTES:

Adapted from the play by Emlyn Williams.

Made in Black and White.


Night of the Big Heat (1967) Previous
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Writer: Ronald Liles / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Tom Blakeley
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 90 mins
The inhabitants of the small island community of Fara, north of mainland Britain, are experiencing an extraordinary heatwave whilst the rest of Great Britain is in the icy grip of a normal seasonal winter. Meteorologists on the island's weather radar station are unable to explain the phenomenon that has seen temperatures reach 90°F and still rising.

The island's hotel and bar The Swan is owned by handsome novelist Jeff Callum and his wife Frankie. It is the hub of the community and among its current guests is Godfrey Hanson, a mysterious and grumpy man who appears to be conducting a set of experiments. His room is filled with an array of scientific equipment and he is clearly obsessed with some secretive endeavour.

Several islanders report hearing an unidentifiable high-frequency whining noise and there have been a number of unexplained deaths that have Callum and his friends very worried.

As the temperature continues rising Callum confronts Hanson and forces him to explain himself. Hanson is a discredited scientist who has been taking measurements to try and prove his theory that their island is being used by aliens to test conditions on Earth with a view to mounting an eventual full scale world-wide invasion. Hanson believes the aliens are high-energy beings who can travel to Earth from outer space by transmitting themselves on the radio spectrum and making use of Earth based radar stations to reconstitute themselves - a process which accounts for the high-pitched noises heard and the generation of vast amounts of unnatural heat. The creatures need much higher temperatures to survive and have created the localised tropical conditions to suit their needs. The creatures feed on energy and drain it from people and equipment whenever they attack.

If the creatures mount a full-scale invasion the surface of the Earth would be heated to a level that would be unbearable to humans and so Hanson and Callum know that with communications to the mainland cut off it is up to them to stop the menace. The island's meteorological station is the focal reception point and so they decide to try and blow up its radar dish with some quarrying gelignite. But this plan fails and the incandescently hot rock-like aliens stalk the remaining islanders to finish them off.

The situation appears bleak for the helpless humans until suddenly Mother Nature kicks in. With temperatures reaching 108°F, a localised tropical storm is set-off creating a torrential downpour of rain. The water lowers the temperature and kills the glowingly hot creatures in their tracks. THE END
Comment: Although it all ends very abruptly with the onset of the rainstorm presumably we must conclude the aliens will decide not try and mount a full-scale invasion because Earth's weather systems would not for very long support the permanently high temperatures the aliens require before reacting to correct the imbalances.

As well as the main plot there is a subplot involving the arrival of Callum's new secretary Angela Roberts who has a romantic past history with Callum which she is seeking to renew and this creates personal tensions when Callum's wife Frankie finds out.
Starring: Patrick Allen (as Jeff Callum, novelist and hotel owner), Christopher Lee (as Godfrey Hanson, scientist), Peter Cushing (as Dr Vernon Stone, island's GP), Jane Merrow (as Angela Roberts, Jeff's new secretary), Sarah Lawson (as Frankie Callum, Jeff's wife)
Featuring: Kenneth Cope (as Tinker Mason, mechanic), William Lucas (as Ken Stanley, MET station), Percy Herbert (as Gerald Foster, MET Station), Thomas Heathcote (as Bob Hayward, Islander), Anna Turner (as Stella Hayward, Bob's wife), Jack Bligh (as Ben Siddle, farmer), Sydney Bromley (as Tramp), Barry Halliday (as Radar Operator, MET Station)
NOTES:

Based on a novel by John Lymington. Additional scenes and dialogue by Pip and Jane Baker.


Night of the Demon (1957) Previous
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aka: Curse of the Demon
Writers: Charles Bennett, Hal E. Chester / Director: Jacques Tourneur / Producer: Frank Bevis
Type: Horror Running Time: 92 mins
Dr John Holden is an American psychologist arriving in England for a symposium held by a group of like-minded scientists attempting to debunk the idea of the supernatural paranormal existence of demonology and witchcraft. He is greeted by the news that the group's leader Professor Harington has met with a bizarre accident in which he backed his car into an electrical pylon and was electrocuted when it fell - although his injuries seem more akin to a savage mauling than severe electrical burns.

Harrington had been focussing his studies on a charismatic individual called Dr Karswell, the opulent owner of Lufford Hall. Holden continues Harington's studies and whilst researching ancient texts in the British library Holden meets Dr Karswell who comes across as genial, polite and friendly - Karswell accidentally knocks over Holden's papers and helps him pick them up and also extends an invitation to come to Lufford Hall to make further research amongst his own collection of rare books on the mystic arts.

Harrington had been gaining insight into Karswell's activities with the help of a man called Rand Hobart, a former member of Karswell's sect, who was prepared to reveal details of what went on. But then Hobart was suddenly accused of a bizarre murder and currently lays in a catatonic state in hospital.

Holden meets Harington's niece Joanna who shows him her late uncle's diary in which all the pages are torn out after his date of death as if it had been predicted he would perish when he did. Prior to this he wrote of being surreptitiously passed, by Karswell, a parchment of runic symbols which then flew from his hand as if possessed and burnt itself to ashes on his fire. Harrington knew that action to be the prelude of an ancient curse that sealed his fate and that he was destined to die at the hands of a savage demon a few days later.

Holden goes to Lufford Hall and Karswell makes no secrets of the fact that he is a practising witch and gives a demonstration of his powers by summoning a windstorm. He then becomes sinister and predicts Holden will die in three days if he does not drop his investigations.

Back in his room Holden finds his diary is vandalised just like Harrington's had been as if the same curse is already upon him - but how could that be because he has not been passed any sort of parchment? Then he recalls the incident in the library when Karswell helped gather his spilled papers and when he looks he finds a parchment of runic symbols is indeed amongst them which he has unwittingly accepted. It immediately flies from his hand and tries to burn itself in the fireplace - but a fireguard prevents its passage and Holden retrieves it and puts it safely in his wallet.

As the appointed day of his death approaches the sceptical Holden becomes unsure about whether anything will happen or if it is merely a self-fulfilment reliant upon the belief of the accursed that it will. But some odd events that seem like a prelude to demonic events make him think there may be something in it and so he decides to have the catatonic Hobart chemically roused and hypnotised to reveal what he knows about it. Hobart too had been cursed by the runic symbols when another cult member (not Karswell) had passed him the parchment. But Hobart knew that if he passed it back surreptitiously to the individual who provided it, the curse would befall the giver instead. That is what Hobart did and the other man died although Hobart was sent mad by what he saw happen to him.

Holden now believes in the curse and knows his only chance of survival is to pass the parchment back to Karswell. However Karswell knows this too and realising the danger he is under he attempts to make himself scarce until after the appointed hour of Holden's death. Holden manages to catch up to him but Karswell warily declines anything offered to him by Holden fearing the parchment will be concealed within - however as Karswell leaves Holden politely passes him his coat which he automatically takes and belatedly realises the parchment is in the pocket and the curse has fallen back onto him. The parchment flies from his hand seeking a way to burn itself to prevent it being passed back and Karswell rushes to try and retrieve it - but it is too near to the time appointed by this curse and the associated giant demon manifests and kills Karswell in the savage manner intended by him for Holden.
Starring: Dana Andrews (as Dr John Holden), Peggy Cummins (as Joanna Harrington), Niall MacGinnis (as Dr Julian Karswell)
Featuring: Athene Seyler (as Karswell's mother), Liam Redmond (as Professor Mark O'Brien, Harrington's colleague), Ewan Roberts (as Lloyd Williamson, Harrington's colleague), Peter Elliott (Professor K.T. Kumar, Harrrington's colleague), Charles Lloyd Pack (as Chemist), Reginald Beckwith and Rosamund Greenwood (as Mr and Mrs Meek, spiritual medium and wife)
Familiar Faces: Brian Wilde (as Rand Hobart, catatonic former cult-member), Percy Herbert (as Farmer)
Star-Turns: Maurice Denham (as Professor Henry Harrington, [opening scene only])
Starlets: Lynn Tracy (as Air Hostess)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White

Based on the story Casting the Runes by M.R. James


Night of the Eagle (1962) Previous
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aka: Burn, Witch, Burn
Writers: Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont / Director: Sidney Hayers / Producer: Albert Fennell
Type: Horror Running Time: 87 mins
Modern day setting (1962). Norman Taylor is a tutor at the Hempnell Medical College where he lectures in psychology and imparts to his students his sceptical views on superstition and supernatural folklore which he believes have no place in a modern society. Norman and his wife Tansy are relative newcomers to the area and Norman is delighted at how well they have been accepted by the faculty. He does not detect the undercurrent of resentment which some of the other staff, and in particular Professor Flora Carr, have towards him due to his prospects of leapfrogging the more established staff for a forthcoming senior post.

Tansy however has been long aware of an atmosphere of carefully disguised hatred and jealousy towards her husband and has resorted to using superstitious talismans secreted around their house to ward off evil forces. She firmly believes in their power to deflect any bad spells cast their way.

When Norman discovers what she is doing he becomes angry at her for believing in such ancient nonsense and collects all her hidden charms and burns them. Tansy descends into panic saying she can no longer protect him from those that wish to destroy him.

Soon afterwards things start to go wrong for Norman. A female student accuses him of raping her and his cosy world begins to fall apart. Tansy feels sure that there is an assault upon them by a powerful opponent free to act now that they are unprotected. She decides the only way to save her husband is to draw the curse he is under onto herself using a ritual she read about and then take her own life.

But Norman realises what she is planning and manages to prevent her although she then falls into a trance and tries to kill him as if possessed. He notices she is walking with a limp and the only person he knows with such an impairment is his faculty colleague Flora Carr. Could Tansy have been right about her supernatural concerns - and is Flora their nemesis?

That night Norman breaks into Flora's study at the college and finds objects of occult efficacy. Flora arrives and when confronted she does not deny it but instead challenges him to confront his scepticism about whether witchcraft is hokum. To demonstrate she builds a tower of tarot cards as a representation of Norman's house which she then sets alight and asks if he can be absolutely certain that his house is not now on fire with his wife asleep inside. Norman realises he cannot be sure and rushes out to get home and save Tansy. However as soon he is out on the college grounds Flora switches on the public address system and broadcasts a subsonic whine and he is attacked by the giant stone eagle that overlooks the entrance - made real by Flora's spells. Norman cannot deny the reality of the attacks and has to flee for his life. The attacks stop only when Flora's husband, oblivious to her secret machinations, arrives to escort her home and she has to switch off the noise. All the destruction the eagle caused has vanished and Norman realises it was all somehow in his mind as if he had been hypnotised. He rushes home and finds his house ablaze just as Flora had foretold but is relieved to find Tansy is safe having been rescued by the fire brigade.

And back at the college as Flora and her husband leave she is fairly satisfied that Norman won't cause any more problems and she has cleared the way for her husband to take the top job. But as they exit the college building the giant stone eagle suddenly topples from its high mount and falls upon Flora crushing her to death.
Comment: We don't find out the identity of the "villain" of the piece until Norman does. At the end it is not entirely clear what causes the stone eagle to fall but perhaps it was weakened by the subsonic vibrations from the public address system that Flora used to "hypnotise" Norman.
Starring: Peter Wyngarde (as Norman Taylor), Janet Blair (as Tansy Taylor), Margaret Johnston (as Flora Carr)
Featuring: Colin Gordon (as Lindsay Carr, Flora's husband), Judith Stott (as Margaret Abbott, student), Bill Mitchell (as Fred Jennings, student), Norman Bird (as Doctor), Anthony Nicholls and Kathleen Byron (as Harvey and Evelyn Sawtelle), Reginald Beckwith and Jessica Dunning (as Harold and Hilda Gunnison)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White

Based on a story by Fritz Leiber

The version reviewed carried the American title of Burn, Witch, Burn


The Night of the Following Day (1968) Previous
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Writers: Hubert Cornfield, Robert Phippeny / Director/Producer: Hubert Cornfield
Type: Thriller Running Time: 93 mins
A young Englishwoman is on a plane travelling to Paris. She is woken from a doze by the stewardess as they are coming in to land. "Pamela" is from a rich family and used to a luxury lifestyle. She is met at Paris airport by a hired chauffeur who proceeds to drive her away. Unfortunately the driver is an impostor and she has fallen victim to a gang of kidnappers. The all-American gang consists of Bud who was the chauffeur; his friend Wally who helped plan it all; Wally's sister Vi who was the stewardess on Pamela's plane and is also Bud's girlfriend; and finally an older man called Leer whom Wally brought in to help. Pamela is told she will come to no harm and once her father has paid the ransom she will be released.

Bud soon realises he has fallen in with an unreliable bunch. His girlfriend Vi is a bundle of nerves and takes drugs and Bud has resolved to end it with her when the escapade is over. Bud's overriding concern when he and Wally were planning the operation was that no violence would be used and so he is alarmed to discover that Leer has a sadistic bent which he would clearly like to take out on Pamela given half a chance. Bud wants to bail out but Wally convinces him to see it through. Pamela is scared of Leer but Bud reassures her that he will keep her safe.

The gang send their demands to Pamela's father and give him meticulous instructions on how to deliver the money. Leer's job is to watch the father and make sure he follows the instructions to the letter and is not followed by the police. Leer returns to the house reporting that the father is sitting in a local café waiting for the handover. It is now Bud's job to snatch the money at gunpoint as if it is a random hold-up and not part of the kidnap plot. He regretfully has to leave Leer alone in the beach house with Pamela for an hour but warns Leer not to harm their hostage in any way while he is gone.

However Leer pays no heed to that warning and once alone decides he needs to refresh himself with a bit of "relaxation" with Pamela to prepare himself for what is to come later that evening when he plans to turn things to his own advantage...

Bud, Vi and Wally manage to get the money as planned. They drive back to the beach house but Bud is wary of duplicity from Leer and gets out before they arrive to scout the area. And as Vi and Wally drive up to the house Leer ambushes them and sprays the car with machine gun fire killing them both. The car blows up and the case of money is blown free. Leer believes he has successfully killed his three cohorts and has all the money for himself. But as he is about to make his getaway Bud shoots him dead from a place of concealment. Bud then returns to the house fearing what he may find. Leer had left Pamela for dead suspended by her arms from the ceiling having undergone a vicious beating. She is still weakly alive and Bud tenderly lifts her down and carries her over to the bed as he considers what to do next...

... Then Pamela awakes and she is still on the plane at the start of her journey where she had been dreaming the terrible events. She gets off the plane and is met by a chauffeur who looks exactly like Bud from her horrible dream ...
Comment: The kidnapped girl is not given a name in the dialogue or credits and so for the sake of clarity I've called her "Pamela" after the actresses own name.
Starring: (Kidnappers) Marlon Brando (as Bud), Richard Boone (as Leer), Rita Moreno (as Vi), Jess Hahn (as Wally)
Pamela Franklin (as Kidnapped girl, [unnamed])
Featuring: Gérard Buhr (as Gendarme), Hugues Wanner (as Girl's father), Jacques Marin (as Bartender)
NOTES:

Based on the novel The Snatchers by Lionel White


The Night of the Generals (1967) Previous
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Writers: Joseph Kessel, Paul Dehn / Director: Anatole Litvak / Producer: Sam Spiegel
Type: War Drama Running Time: 138 mins
Set during the Second World War and starting in 1942 in Warsaw, Poland under German occupation. In an apartment building a young Polish prostitute is murdered. Local police investigate and they call in German Intelligence officer Major Grau because the woman was also a German agent. A witness comes forward who had heard the woman's screams and hid in fear - but from his hiding place had seen that the murderer had been wearing the uniform of a German general.

Major Grau has high respect for the principals of the law and is determined to catch the murderer no matter what his rank and high privilege. He establishes that there were three generals in Warsaw on the night in question who had no solid alibis:- Generals Tanz, Kahlenberg and Seidlitz-Gabler. All three generals prove reluctant to be interviewed and consider the murder of a prostitute to be of little consequence to them as they seek to quell civilian unrest in the city. Tanz is considered a great military leader who uses the might of the German army like a bulldozer to flatten whole towns to weed out and arrest dissenting factions. Kahlenberg and Seidlitz-Gabler are engaged in some secret plot together and distrust Tanz immensely. As Major Grau's investigative persistence grows he suddenly finds himself promoted to Lt Colonel and posted to Paris upon the recommendation of General Kahlenberg. Grau is in no position to refuse and so there his investigation stalls.

Time and location move on to Paris in July 1944. Generals Kahlenberg and Seidlitz-Gabler are now posted to Paris and Tanz has just arrived after fighting a successful campaign on the Russian front. Lt Colonel Grau has good connections with Inspector Morand of the French police and with all three generals back together again he decides to discretely reopen his former waylaid investigation.

The conspiracy that Kahlenberg and Seidlitz-Gabler are involved in is a plot to kill Adolf Hitler. They believe the war is lost but Hitler is too fanatically obsessed to be realistic and surrender and so the generals want to seize power and salvage some dignity for their nation before it is completely destroyed by the Allies. The culmination of their plot is imminent with a bomb ready to blow up the Fuehrer at a briefing in his bunker in the next day or so. Tanz is their big problem because he is fiercely loyal to the Nazi cause and must not be allowed to suspect anything. So as senior generals the conspirators order Tanz to take an enforced rest from duties and assign a lance corporal called Kurt Hartmann to accompany him around Paris and show him the sights.

During his off-duty break Tanz at times appears on the brink of madness and has a fearsomely unpredictable nature. Tanz uses his privilege to gain access to restricted decadent art which he views with a cold sweat. On the second night he instructs Hartmann to arrange a prostitute for him. Tanz then brutally kills the woman but in a chilling display of calculated cunning he makes sure that Hartmann will be implicated - Hartmann is trapped because no one will believe his word against that of a general and he goes on the run.

Grau immediately notices similarities between the current murder and the one in Warsaw and does not believe the evidence that points to Hartmann being the culprit. He restarts his investigation into the generals and comes to the conclusion that Tanz is the guilty man and goes off to arrest him in his office. He confronts Tanz alone with the murder charge just as news comes through on the radio that a plot to kill Hitler with a bomb has failed and Tanz reacts by shooting Grau dead to avoid arrest and then claiming that Grau was a part of the traitorous conspiracy to kill the Fuhrer. His word is not questioned and the murders of the prostitutes go unsolved.

It is now the present day (1967) in Hamburg, Germany. A prostitute has been murdered and Inspector Morand, now working for Interpol, realises it is uncannily like the one he investigated in Paris in 1944 and the one his late friend Grau investigated in Warsaw in 1942. All three ex-generals are in Hamburg. The two ex-conspirators ended their war and became normal citizens but Tanz was arrested as a war criminal and has just finished serving a 20-year sentence. He is due to attend a reunion of his ex-troops as guest of honour.

Morand follows up his leads and tracks down Hartmann who went on the run in 1944 and has been living under a new name ever since. He finds out from Hartmann what really went on in 1944 and the man agrees to testify. Tanz is confronted with the evidence against him and realises the game is finally up. He asks for a gun and goes off and shoots himself dead.
Starring: Omar Sharif (as Major/Lt Col Grau, military investigator)
(suspect generals) Peter O'Toole (as General Tanz), Donald Pleasence (as Major Gen Kahlenberge), Charles Gray (I) (as General von Seidlitz-Gabler)
Tom Courtenay (as Lance Cpl. Kurt Hartmann, assigned to chauffeur for Tanz), Joanna Pettet (as Ulrike von Seydlitz-Gabler, general's daughter), Philippe Noiret (as Inspector Morand, French detective)
Featuring: Coral Browne (as Eleanore von Seidlitz-Gabler, general's wife), Nigel Stock (as Sgt. Otto Kopkie, Kahlenberge aide), Christopher Plummer (as Field Marshal Rommel, [small role only]), Véronique Vendell (as Monique Demond, French prostitute), Harry Andrews (as General Stulpnagel, Military Governor of France), Gordon Jackson and Patrick Allen (as German officers)
NOTES:

Full writing credits: Adapted for the screen by Joseph Kessel and Paul Dehn; additional dialogue by Paul Dehn; From the novel by Hans Hellmut Kirst; based on an incident written by James Hadley Chase


The Night Porter (1974) Previous
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Writers: Liliana Cavani, Italo Moscati / Director: Liliana Cavani / Producer: Robert Gordon Edwards
Type: Drama Running Time: 112 mins
Set in Vienna in 1957. Maximilian Aldorfer is an ex-Nazi who had been an officer in a concentration camp during the Second World War and was involved in the sexual abuse of prisoners. He is now working as a night porter in a hotel. He is being probed by a clique of his ex-Nazi peers to see how vulnerable he is to exposure from the war crimes commission - which to them is a dangerous organisation.

Max is confident that there are no witnesses left alive from those time. But then he is shocked to see a woman called Lucia arrive as a guest at his hotel. Lucia had been a camp prisoner who had become his own special project. He had devoted his efforts into turning her into his sexual slave and this resulted in an intense physical relationship between them in which he exercised his total domination of her. But he in turn was enslaved by his sexual need for her and an unusual love bond was created between them. He had believed her to be dead.

Lucia is now the rich wife of a successful orchestra conductor whom she is accompanying on a European tour. She had been getting on with her life but when she sees Max memories of those horrific days return. She begins to slip back into the mindset of the necessarily docile compliant woman she had been in those wartime days when she had become a sexual slave to this officer who had the power of life and death over her. Although built upon fear the subservient bond and desire to please him had become real and ingrained upon her psyche. Her feelings of need for him are still powerfully prevalent and however much she tries to resist them she finds herself compelled by her emotions to re-experience that complete overwhelming dominance he had over her fate.

With those feelings of desire reawakened in them both they resume their intense affair of unspoken sexual gratification which fills an emotional hole in their current lives which they had never expected to re-live and it becomes an overwhelming force which subverts their reason.

Max's colleagues are concerned that this woman could be called upon as a witness in any war crimes tribunal against him. But Max has lost all concern in his joy at having his "little girl" back. And Lucia has lost all sense of self-determination and has become fully reliant on his protection once more.

Max takes Lucia to his apartment to hide her from his ex-Nazi comrades but they find out and hold siege outside denying him supplies of groceries and power. After weeks of holding out on starvation rations, Max and Lucia attempt to make flight under cover of darkness. But the ex-Nazis have decided that their former comrade has become a serious security risk who can no longer be relied upon and the next morning as Max and Lucia walk across a bridge they are both killed by sniper fire.
Starring: Dirk Bogarde (as Maximilian Aldorfer), Charlotte Rampling (as Lucia Atherton)
Featuring: Philippe Leroy (as Klaus, ex-SS officer), Gabriele Ferzetti (as Hans, ex-SS officer), Isa Miranda (as Countess Margaret Stein, hotel guest), Nino Bignamini (as Adolph, hotel stud), Marino Masé (as Atherton, Lucia's husband, famous orchestra conductor), Amedeo Amodio (as Bert, ballet dancing former SS officer)
NOTES:

Story by Liliana Cavani, Barbara Alberti and Amedeo Pagani

This is an Italian film made in English which is reviewed here because of the starring roles of British actors Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling. The Italian title is Il Portiere di notte


Night Watch (1973) Previous
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Writer: Tony Williamson / Director: Brian G. Hutton / Producers: Martin Poll, George W. George, Barnard Straus
Type: Thriller Running Time: 97 mins
The house that Ellen and John Wheeler live in is overlooked by a large, gloomy imposing house next door that no one has lived in for a long time and is boarded up. Ellen has a fragile mental condition brought about by a tragedy in her life a few years ago when her first husband was killed in a car crash. She regularly has nightmares about that fateful day and has difficulty sleeping. Her new husband John is very understanding as is her best friend Sarah who is currently staying with them and helps with Ellen's medication. Secretly, we later discover, Sarah and John are having a discrete affair making sure Ellen doesn't find out to avoid upsetting her further.

One evening while having difficulty sleeping Ellen is looking out of the window during a windy thunderstorm and during a flash of lightning that coincides with the shutters of the imposing house blowing open, she sees what she is sure is the body of a dead man sitting in a chair with his throat cut. She becomes highly panicked and immediately calls John but the conditions are not repeated and he cannot see it himself - but she is so convinced by what she saw that he calls the police to investigate.

The police, led by Inspector Walker, search the old house but find nothing. Ellen cannot understand it since she is utterly convinced about what she saw The next day she calls the police back and accuses their other neighbour Mr Appleby of burying the body in a new trench he has just dug to plant some new trees - although when the police dig it up that proves not to be the case. Over the subsequent days she repeatedly calls the police to look into small details or new possibilities that have occurred to her with her anxiety levels increasing each time. Eventually Inspector Walker begins to realise that he is dealing with an unhinged neurotic woman who is clearly just imagining things. He tires of her phantom false alarms that are diverting his efforts away from real police work and he starts to fob her off saying they'll look into her latest suspicions later and then promptly forgets about it.

Next, Ellen thinks she sees another body from her window, this time of a woman, and gets hysterical with worry again. The family doctor is called in and he recommends she go away somewhere for a rest cure. She then begins to become paranoid about her husband John and accuses him of somehow manufacturing this whole situation to send her mad so that he can run off with Sarah revealing to them she knows about their affair. She accuses Sarah of interfering with her medication to try and kill her.

Behaving with a high state of anxiety and betrayal Ellen rushes into the gloomy house determined to look around for herself. John follows with increased concern about her mental condition. Sarah follows on behind a few minutes later and with no electrical power in the house she stumbles around in the gloomy corridors looking for either John or Ellen - then she finds John sitting in a chair dead with his throat cut and moments later she is attacked and killed by Ellen with a knife.

Ellen returns to her own house now calm and in complete control or herself. Then she phones Inspector Walker again resuming her flustered paranoid act telling him with agitated alarm there are now two more bodies - but the Inspector is most abrupt with her and cuts her off for once again wasting his time and is no longer willing to be polite about it. She appears pleased because that is exactly the response she wanted from him - all her paranoid ravings have been a shrewd act on her part in order to rid herself of her unfaithful husband and his mistress in a place the police are unlikely to search again after all the false alarms she's put them through.
Starring: Elizabeth Taylor (as Ellen Wheeler), Laurence Harvey (as John Wheeler), Billie Whitelaw (as Sarah Cooke), Bill Dean (as Inspector Walker)
Featuring: Robert Lang (as Mr Appleby, next-door neighbour), Tony Britton (as Tony, family GP), Michael Danvers-Walker (as DS Norris), Rosario Serrano (as Dolores, the Wheelers' Spanish maid)
Familiar Faces: David Jackson (as DC Wilson, bit part)
Starlets: Linda Hayden (as Girl in Car, bit-part, seen during Ellen's flashbacks to her first husband's death)
NOTES:

Based on the play by Lucille Fletcher. Additional dialogue by Evan Jones.


Night, After Night, After Night (1969) Previous
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Writer: Dail Ambler / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Producer: James Mellor
Type: Crime Drama Running Time: 84 mins
A serial killer is at large in London stabbing young women. The police have a suspect who was spotted near the scene of one murder and DI Bill Rowan is convinced Pete Laver is the man but cannot prove it. Laver is a womaniser and a generally arrogant lout but swears he had nothing to do with the killings.

A local judge called Charles Lomax has a fearsome reputation for handing out the most severe punishments to immoral offenders especially prostitutes up before him in his determination to root out the evil in society. He has a sinister looking clerk who secretly reads porn mags and visits strip clubs. One night Rowan's wife falls victim to the serial killer - murdered in their own home - and for Rowan it now becomes personal. He hounds Laver and follows him everywhere hoping to uncover evidence of his crimes.

Meanwhile Judge Lomax's behaviour is becoming more aberrant and he seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown from all the degradation and immorality he is exposed to in his courtroom. He is unable to continue and an adjournment is called. His clerk follows him from court and finds he has gone to a secret address. Inside the dwellings Judge Lomax has walls of glamour girl pin-ups which he slavers over in a deranged way and then he disguises himself and goes out to bring back a prostitute with the intention of killing her. The police are alerted but the judge escapes with a gun. He desperately wants help for his madness and pleads for it on a riverbank - but unwisely waves his gun around whilst doing so and a police marksman has to shoot him dead.
Starring: Gilbert Wynne (as Inspector Bill Rowan), Jack May (as Judge Lomax)
Featuring: Justine Lord (as Helena, the judge's wife), Linda Marlowe (as Jenny, Rowan's wife), Donald Sumpter (as Pete Laver), Terry Scully (as Judge's Clerk)
Familiar Faces: Jack Smethurst
Starlets: April Harlow, Shirley Easton, Carol Haddon, Yvonne Paul
NOTES:

The director Lindsay Shonteff was credited under the psedonymn of Lewis J. Force


The Nightcomers (1972) Previous
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Writer: Michael Hastings / Director/Producer: Michael Winner
Type: Drama Running Time: 92 mins
A prequel to Henry James' novel The Turn of the Screw set in the opening years of the 20th century. Following the death of their parents, children Flora and Miles Tyrrell are left in the sole care of their governess Miss Margaret Jessell at the insistence of their only kin - a cousin of their parents from London - who does not wish to take on anything other than their financial responsibility and requires only six-monthly reports on their progress. The children remain at their parents' large country estate run by the housekeeper Mrs Grose. Their father's former valet remains employed as groundsman and gardener out of regard to his long standing service - his name is Peter Quint, an Irish bumpkin whom the children idolise because of his playful manner and his tall stories.

Quint and Miss Jessell are lovers but their relationship is built on a foundation of brutality. Quint enjoys dominating her and she submits to his beatings and allows him to tie her in bondage. The children know nothing of sex or relationships and with Jessell and Quinn as their only role-models when they see the lovers in full swing they become convinced that this is how love between a man and a woman is expressed - with pain and violence.

The children question Quint on the nature of love and death and in his warped musings they believe he is telling them that killing someone is the ultimate way to prove your love for them. So the children set out to calculatingly kill Miss Jessell by allowing her to drown in the pond and then Miles uses his newly learnt archery skills to slaughter Quint so the two lovers can be together with each other for ever more.
Starring: Marlon Brando (as Peter Quint), Stephanie Beacham (as Miss Margaret Jessel, Governess), Thora Hird (as Mrs Grose, Housekeeper), Verna Harvey (as Flora Tyrrell), Christopher Ellis (as Miles Tyrrell)
Featuring: Harry Andrews (as Master of the House, absentee guardian), Anna Palk (as New Governess)
NOTES:

The story of what happens next is told on screen in an earlier film adaptation of The Turn of the Screw which was re-titled The Innocents (1961).


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979) Previous
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Writer: Guy Elmes / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: S. Benjamin Fisz
Type: Crime Caper Running Time: 105 mins
Lucius 'Pinky' Green is an American living in Britain who has been in and out of prison so often that upon his latest release from incarceration he decides it is time to go straight. Pinky is a charismatic and likeable guy who is an electrician by trade and his parole officer gets him a some wiring jobs in city firms which go well and he is eventually offered a permanent maintenance man role in the Atlantic and City Bank in Berkley Square. He is provided with his own key to access the building for night work and soon he becomes a popular and trusted figure with the regular staff.

However Ivan, the local crime boss for whom Pinky used to work, finds out about Pinky's new arrangement and sees a golden opportunity to rob the bank utilising Pinky's unique 'inside man' access. Ivan has a gentlemanly exterior but underneath has a ruthless determination. Pinky is unwilling to cooperate but Ivan puts pressure on him by threatening to make life very difficult for him if he refuses. Pinky therefore sets about discovering the combination to the bank's vault, obtaining a set of keys and providing Ivan's gang with a schedule of the security arrangements. For this help Ivan promises Pinky his fair share of the loot.

Using Pinky's information Ivan's gang efficiently carry out the robbery whilst Pinky is elsewhere establishing an alibi at the home of the assistant manageress Miss Pelham who has taken a seductive liking to him. The gang get away with £15 million in jewels, gold coins and banknotes. Pinky's share is held in safekeeping for him by his friend Foxy who is not involved with the gang.

The police investigation into the theft is led by Inspector Watford who has very little to go on but becomes suspicious of Pinky when he checks his criminal record. Despite Pinky's solid alibi the inspector keeps chipping away at him for a confession.

Eventually Pinky agrees to tell all in exchange for a shorter sentence of three years and with his information the entire gang are rounded up and given sentences of between ten and twenty-five years - the longest for Ivan. But then Pinky is dismayed to receive a seven-year sentence instead of the three years he was "promised". He feels ill at the prospect of another long stretch inside and his guard lets him use the barrister's bathroom to compose himself. Pinky seizes the opportunity to disguise himself as a barrister and escape the court building where he meets up with Foxy and they manage to successfully skip the country with Pinky's share of the proceeds.
Starring: Richard Jordan (as 'Pinky' Green), David Niven (as Ivan, crime boss), Richard Johnson (as Inspector Watford), Oliver Tobias (as Foxy, Pinky's friend)
Featuring: Elke Sommer (as Miss Sonia Pelham, bank manager's assistant), Gloria Grahame (as Pinky's mother), John Washbrook (as Dan Blakestone, bank manager), Hugh Griffith (as Antique shop owner), John Rhys Davies (as Pinky's Solicitor), Robert Raglan (as Judge)
(gang members) Michael Angelis, Dicken Ashworth, Brian Croucher, Derek Deadman, Charlie Hawkins, Anthony Heaton, Davy Kaye, Brian Protheroe
Starlets: Sally Harrison (as Jill, bank clerk), Carolyne Argyle (as Fast Food Restaurant Waitress)


Nightmare (1964) Previous
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Writer/Producer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Freddie Francis
Type: Thriller Running Time: 78 mins
Janet Freeman is an almost 17-year-old schoolgirl whose sleep is constantly disturbed by troubling nightmares. When Janet was 11 her mother became deranged and killed Janet's father with a knife and was committed to an asylum. Ever since then Janet has lived in fear that she too will go mad. Of late her condition has become so difficult to cope with that her boarding school is forced to send her back home.

Her teacher Mary Lewis travels home with her to see her safely back to her family estate of High Towers which is managed by her late father's lawyer Henry Baxter as executor of the will. Henry is a youngish man is his 30s and Janet finds him appealing and a great comfort. She has a crush on him which he does nothing to discourage even though he is married. Other household members are the kindly housekeeper Mrs Gibbs and groundsman John who have both known Janet for years and dote on her. Miss Lewis stays one night and departs the next morning leaving Janet in the care of Grace Maddox whom Henry has hired to be a companion for Janet although she is secretly there to be a nurse to her as well.

Janet begins to have a recurring nightmare about a strange woman dressed in white who comes into her room at night and beckons her to follow and when she does the woman has gone. Janet has never seen the woman before and has no idea why she would dream about someone she doesn't know - and she is not even sure if she is dreaming because the dreams seem to be so real. She begins to become paranoid about this woman as the other members of the household try to be understanding and calm her down after each bad experience. She even starts to see the mysterious woman during the day while seemingly awake - it appears that Janet might be suffering from the same kind of madness that afflicted her mother which, despite not being inheritable, may well be something that can be brought about by the sheer worry that it might.

It is soon the day of her 17th birthday and Henry has brought his wife down from London with him to help celebrate. Janet has never met Henry's wife Helen before and when the wife turns to greet her it is the mysterious woman! Janet is petrified of her and takes her cake-cutting knife and stabs the woman to death crying hysterically at her to leave her alone.

But Janet has killed a real woman and is taken away to the asylum suffering from temporary madness. After she leaves Grace is seen upstairs taking off a face mask that matches that of Helen's features - it has been her all along posing as "Helen" and appearing before her in a ghostly way making Janet believe the episodes were her "nightmares" which were in fact reality. We discover that she and Henry are in league and had devised this whole plan to do away with his wife via manipulating Janet's psychosis with no suspicions falling on themselves.

Henry and Grace soon marry and move into High Towers. But when Henry starts to get mysterious phone calls from a woman he claims not to know Grace begins to suspect he is having an affair behind her back. And she starts seeing a mysterious woman in white walking around. She accuses Henry of trying to pull the same trick on her but tells him it won't work because she is not some neurotic teenager. When she phones the asylum and discovers Janet has escaped she knows it must be her who has returned to take some sort of revenge and Grace becomes increasingly paranoid trying to find her. Henry gets irritated by her erratic behaviour as Grace becomes more and more suspicious that he and Janet are plotting to do away with her and eventually this culminates in her stabbing Henry to death.

She then starts to phone the police with the intention of blaming it on the escaped Janet whom she "knows" must be around here somewhere. But her call is stopped by a woman - it is Janet's teacher Miss Lewis who reveals herself to have been the woman skulking around the house to unnerve Grace. And it was John who intercepted Grace's call to the asylum to tell her that Janet had escaped. In actual fact Janet is still there at the asylum safely locked up but making good progress towards a full recovery. John, Mrs Gibbs and Miss Lewis hated what Grace and Henry did to poor Janet and have conspired this revenge on them which has left Henry dead and Grace as a murderess who will now go to prison for a long time.
Starring: David Knight (as Henry Baxter), Moira Redmond (as Grace Maddox), Jennie Linden (as Janet Freeman)
Featuring: Irene Richmond (as Mrs Gibbs, housekeeper), Brenda Bruce (Mary Lewis, teacher), George A. Cooper (as John, groundsman), Clytie Jessop (as Woman in White/Helen)
Starlets: Julie Samuel (as Anne the maid)
NOTES:

Made in Black and White.


The Nine Ages of Nakedness (1969) Previous
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Producer/Director/Writer: George Harrison Marks
Type: Sex Comedy / Anthology Running Time: 88 mins
A man is "plagued" by female attention in his profession as a glamour photographer. He visits a psychiatrist and relates stories of his historical ancestors from the cavemen onwards who found themselves in similar situations.
Starring: George Harrison Marks
Featuring: Max Wall, Julian Orchard, Cardew Robinson
Starlets: Sue Bond, Monique Devereaux, Maria Frost, June Palmer, Maj-Britt Mannson, Carol Hamilton, Patricia Rose, Suzan Long, Dawn Grayson, Dawn Williams, Karen Klein, Rena Brown, Maya Zell
Also: a lot of nudity with uncredited background extras
NOTES:

The eras featured are:- Stone Age, Egyptian, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, Cavaliers, Victorian Music Hall, Shakespeare(?), The Future. Since that is only eight then the ninth is presumably meant to be the present where the framing sequence is set.


Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) Previous
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Novel: George Orwell / Writer/Director: Michael Radford / Producer: Simon Perry
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 106 mins
Winston Smith lives in a bleak dystopian society that is in the midst of a terrible and enduring war with other world superpowers. The rights of the individual are a long forgotten idea and everyone is controlled by an all seeing Big Brother that expects all its citizens to conform to strict rules of behaviour right down to the way they think. Individualism is a thought-crime and subject to severe correctional punishment. Every citizen dresses the same way in drab blue overalls and they are constantly subjected to a barrage of propaganda broadcasts at work and at home telling them how well the war is going and the good things the government is doing on their behalf - they are unable to switch their screens off and are monitored even in their own homes. Regular confessions are broadcast from rebellious individuals who have been caught trying to resist the will of Big Brother and are now making atonement for their terrible mistakes.

Smith is a lowly worker in the propaganda section and is responsible for changing bleak news stories into messages of courage and fortitude on the front line - so he knows that some of the stories broadcast are untrue. He spots a female citizen called Julia and they find themselves drawn to each other even though casual sexual relations are forbidden. Smith hires a bed-sit from a black market racketeer that has no monitoring devices and the two lovers enjoy months of illicit pleasure in each others company.

Smith is contacted by an inner party member called O'Brien who appears to have some of the same rebellious thoughts as himself. Smith is given a forbidden book that explains how a society may be controlled and subjugated by keeping its citizens starved and repressed in a continual state of warfare and Smith begins to wonder if the whole war might be an invention of a totalitarian government to maintain dominance and obedience over its citizens.

Eventually the lovers are betrayed and Smith finds it was O'Brien himself who has tricked him into revealing his thought crimes so that he might be exposed and punished. Smith is horribly tortured and brainwashed until he no longer knows what is true and is prepared to believe anything he is told. And he ends up being one of the broadcast confessors claiming to atone for all manner of treachery he has not done to demonstrate to other citizens that bad thoughts are always punished. Smith accepts now that he was mentally deranged before when he had thoughts of a better life but is now happy he is cured.
Comment: The story is set in 1984 which was of course a long way in the future when George Orwell wrote the story in 1948.
Starring: John Hurt (as Winston Smith), Richard Burton (as O'Brien), Suzanna Hamilton (as Julia)
Featuring: Cyril Cusack (as Charrington, shopkeeper), Gregor Fisher (as Parsons, Smith's neighbour), James Walker, Andrew Wilde, David Trevana
Familiar Faces: Roger Lloyd Pack (as Waiter)
Starlets: Shirley Stelfox (as Whore, in flashback), Janet Key (as Viewscreen Fitness Instructress)


No Blade of Grass (1970) Previous
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Writers: Sean Forestal, Jefferson Pascal / Director/Producer: Cornel Wilde
Type: Sci-Fi Running Time: 93 mins
Decades of industrial pollution from factories and cars has brought the global environment to a critical point and at the start of the 1970s (the present day of this film) this has resulted in a poisoning of the soil that has brought about a highly infectious botanical disease that is affecting all forms of grass - including wheat, rye, barley and rice. The disease first hit in China, India and South East Asia causing a famine of immense proportions and is now starting to spread to Europe. In Great Britain rationing of meat has been introduced which is scarce because cattle are denied their normal foodstuffs and there is talk that the cities might be sealed off by the military if the situation gets much worse. There are worrying reports from China that the authorities have nerve-gassed whole cities to reduce the population's overall food requirements.

John Custance is an architect working in London and he is getting very concerned. His daughter's boyfriend Roger is a government scientist looking for a cure but isn't very hopeful and he has promised he will tip John off if the cities are to be closed so that John and his family, along with Roger himself, can get out. John's brother David has a farm up North and has said they can come and live with him there.

When Roger gives the word the family immediately begin their journey - John, his wife Ann, their 16-year-old daughter Mary and Roger set off in two cars. But they are almost too late as the roadblocks are erected early and rioting and looting almost immediately breaks out amongst already panicked citizens. John realises they must arm themselves and they visit a gunsmiths to get some weaponry and are obliged to let the owner's assistant Dave Pirrie and his wife Clara join them. Pirrie is handy with a gun and in the changed situation is not concerned about using it. To get out of the city limits the group are forced to almost immediately step over the line when they have to kill two soldiers at a lightly manned preliminary checkpoint who are refusing to let them pass.

As they progress up the country to David's farm it becomes clear that the whole country has descended into anarchy with every man for himself willing to kill and steal. Mob rule has broken out as John and his group encounter ambushes and rapists which they have to overcome with their normal ethics and sense of law and order firmly shunted to one side as being unworkable in the changed situation. A few days in they lose their cars to an ambush and have to continue to their intended destination on foot. They meet up with another larger group of walkers who are willing to join with them and accept John as a leader with his sincerely meant promise of a place on his brother's farm. John's group now numbers forty or so although this is reduced a bit when they have an all out shooting battle with a group of motorbike thugs.

It is only a three of four days since they left London but short-wave radio reports from America tell them that all contact has been lost with Western Europe which seems to have ceased to exist as part of the civilised world. It is shocking how things have deteriorated so quickly and even the military are mutinying as John's group witnesses some soldiers murdering their own commanding officer who was insisting that they obey his orders to try and keep order.

They finally get to John's brother's farm but find it fortified with a machine gun tower providing protective cover. David is relieved that John and his family made it and says they are welcome to come in but there is no room for the others who have accompanied him. John is unwilling to abandon the people he has become responsible for and under cover of darkness John and Pirrie stage an attack on the gun tower while others attack elsewhere to try and take over the farm for themselves. But David is manning the defensive machine gun and starts firing on them so John and Pirrie are forced to kill him to save themselves.

Here the film ends with John and his group taking over the farm by the killing of his own brother. There is no optimistic end and it seems as though this state of continual skirmish and defence to protect dwindling resources will become the new order of things where only the strongest or most ruthless will survive.
Starring: Nigel Davenport (as John Custance), Jean Wallace (as Ann Custance, wife), Lynne Frederick (as Mary Custance, daughter), John Hamill (as Roger Burnham, Mary's boyfriend), Anthony May (as Andrew Pirrie), Wendy Richard (as Clara, Pirrie's wife)
Featuring: Patrick Holt (as David Custance, John's brother), Nigel Rathbone (as Davey, John's son), Christopher Lofthouse (as Spooks, Davey's friend)
NOTES:

Based on the novel The Death of Grass by John Christopher.

Lynne Frederick, Nigel Rathbone and Christopher Lofthouse all receive "introducing" credits.

There is a moment of topless nudity when Lynne Frederick is being raped although this is a close-up cutaway and may be a body double. In the version reviewed the entire rape sequence and then the rapists being subsequently killed has a different picture quality as if it is a sequence from a slightly lower-quality copy re-inserted into the higher quality but previously edited copy - this was the only part of the film that had such a restored sequence. There is another topless scene when the walkers come across a dying girl who has been attacked and left for dead by marauders and John mercy kills her - but she is not credited.


No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977) Previous
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Writer: Howard Craig / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Producer: Elizabeth Gray
Type: Action Running Time: 89 mins
Charles Bind is a super-spy working for the Ministry of Defence whose code-name is Number 1. He is a suave confident well-spoken womaniser who is an expert at armed and unarmed combat. His boss Rockwell assigns him his latest mission to discover who has murdered two rich men who were important to Britain's interests. Their only clue is a shabbily dressed man who was heard making a speech at Hyde Park's speaker's corner earlier the same day roundly criticising the two men as being evil. Rockwell assigns another agent called Anna Hudson to work alongside Bind.

We (the viewer) know that the Hyde Park orator was not all he seemed to be - after his speech he departed the scene and was picked up in a limousine where he took off his disguise and was revealed to be self-made multi-millionaire businessman Arthur Loveday. He then proceeded to travel to a training camp of a top secret evil paramilitary organisation called KRASH (Killing, Raping, Arson, Slaughter and Hits) where he hired them to contain a problem he was expecting that might attempt to interfere with his masterplan for the perfect murder.

It doesn't take Bind and Anna long to link the scruffy speaker to Loveday's limousine and Bind heads off to Loveday's mansion to question him on who the man was. And to Bind's surprise Loveday reveals it was he who was the speaker and what's more he openly admits to killing the two men. Loveday is utterly charming and genial as he tells Bind that there will be more murders to come and even reveals who the next victim will be and where it will happen. His motive is that they were rich and unpleasant men and he quite realises that the authorities aren't going to be too happy about it and Bind is very welcome to try and stop him but he won't be able to because he will never be able to figure out how he's doing it. But Loveday tells Bind he welcomes the chance to have an adversary as worthy as Charles Bind to pit his wits against. There's nothing he enjoys more than outsmarting others and he is confident he could lay on the clues high enough to trip over and Bind would still never fathom his method.

As the events unfold Bind and Anna try to work out Loveday's methods - but even though they tap his phone, intercept his mail, tape his conversations and have him followed everywhere he never seems to have contact with a would-be assassin to pass on target instructions. And Bind and Anna meanwhile have to contend with agents of K.R.A.S.H. who are out to kill them as per Loveday's standing orders.

Eventually, as Loveday seems to have come out victorious and has Bind as his prisoner, he at last reveals his methods. He hired the assassin 10 years ago and paid him handsomely to become active 10 years later and has had no further contact with him since. The assassin chooses the targets and lets Loveday know via a coded message in a newspaper's personal columns who and where it will be. And then Loveday can sit back and enjoy watching it take place. Loveday then, with an arrogantly supreme confidence that fate is firmly on his side, decides to prove just that by playing a game of Russian roulette with the captured and helpless Bind. With one round in a revolver he fires first at Bind and then at himself - the first three chambers are empty but with the fourth shot he finds out he was wrong as he blows his own brains out and Bind emerges the victor.
Starring: Nicky Henson (as Charles Bind), Richard Todd (as Arthur Loveday), Aimi MacDonald (as Anna Hudson)
Featuring: Geoffrey Keen (as Rockwell, Bind's boss), Dudley Sutton (as Alan, K.R.A.S.H. Leader), Oliver MacGreevy (as Simms, the Sniper)
Star-Turns: Jon Pertwee (as Brother Braithwaite, leader of a charitable foundation), Sue Lloyd (as Sister Jane, his receptionist)
Starlets: Fiona Curzon (as Bar Girl Assassin), Katya Wyeth (as Miss Martin, Rockwell's secretary), Jenny Till (as Vampire Girl Assassin), Roberta Gibbs (as Stormy Weather, Martial Arts Assassin), The Baker Twins (as Loveday's Girls, Chrissy and Paula Williams)
NOTES:

There were two follow-up films also directed by Lindsay Shonteff that used the same lead character. The first was Licensed to Love and Kill (1979) in which Gareth Hunt played the lead. And then a further latter-day effort called Number One Gun (1990) starring Michael Howe as the main hero - although this final one is a very poor amateurish outing which barely qualifies as a proper film.


No Sex Please - We're British (1973) Previous
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Writers: Anthony Marriott, Johnnie Mortimer, Brian Cooke / Director: Cliff Owen / Producer: John R. Sloan
Type: Comedy Running Time: 88 mins
In a London high street a sex shop has recently opened and the owner Pete Hunter phones a supplier of Scandinavian porn called Nico to order some new stock - but Nico writes down the wrong address and instead of the correct street address of 313 he writes 131. The address at 131 in the same road is a bank which has an apartment above its premises that is occupied by the Assistant Manager David Hunter and his new wife Penny. They are just getting used to married life together after recently returning from their honeymoon and Penny is a bit put out that David's mother has decided to pay a visit and will be staying for a week.

When the bank gets a large parcel addressed to "P Hunter" the chief cashier Brian Runnicles assumes it must be for Penny and takes it up to the apartment. Brian is a good friend of theirs and was the best man at the wedding. Penny had been expecting a parcel because she had ordered some glassware and Brian helps her open it and they are shocked to find it contains not glassware but some extremely indecent pornographic photos.

Meanwhile the bank's manager Mr Bromley has noticed the sex shop in the high street and is outraged at the creeping menace of pornography in society and is determined to stamp it out and he tells David that he takes a harsh line on such matters and he once sacked an employee just for looking at a porn mag in the office. He calls in police Inspector Paul who is just as determined to target porn merchants and come down hard on anyone found in possession of hard pornography. Then David returns upstairs to his apartment and finds out about all the porn that they have been wrongly sent and they try various methods to dispose of it while keeping it secret from Mr Bromley, the police inspector and David's mother.

Eventually they manage to dispose of the photos and think it's all over until yet more packages start to arrive containing firstly blue films and then erotic sex manuals which they also have to find ways of getting rid of without anyone finding out. Brian starts to become unhinged at the pressure of it all with everyone constantly rushing around in and out of rooms hiding things and making up excuses for strange behaviour of which he seems to be coming off the worse by becoming saddled with various "problems" the others invent to explain away certain oddities.

Brian manages to make contact with the porn supplier with the intention of telling him to take it all back but when he asks Nico to send someone round and he is asked how many he says that two should suffice and due to a misunderstanding Nico thinks he wants some call girls who duly arrive creating more farcical misunderstandings which also now include a bank inspector who the Hunter's are obliged to put up for the night since they live in the bank's apartment.

It all ends with a chase sequence after the porn shop owner and Nico trace where the misdirected goods have gone and want them back as Brian runs off with the final parcel which happily turns out to be something entirely innocent.
Starring: Ronnie Corbett (as Brian Runnicles, chief cashier), Ian Ogilvy (as David Hunter, assistant manager), Susan Penhaligon (as Penny Hunter, David's wife), Arthur Lowe (as Mr Leslie Bromley, bank manager), Beryl Reid (as Bertha Hunter, David's mother)
Featuring: Michael Bates (as Arnold Needham, bank inspector), Cheryl Hall (as Daphne Martin, bank clerk), David Swift (as Inspector Paul, policeman), John Bindon (as Pete Hunter, sex shop owner), Stephen Greif (as Niko, porn supplier)
Familiar Faces: Robin Askwith (Baker's Delivery Man, cameo)
Star-Turns: Deryck Guyler (Park Keeper), Michael Robbins (Motorist), Frank Thornton (Glass Shop Manager), Michael Ripper (Traffic Warden), Brian Wilde (Policeman)
Starlets: Valerie Leon (as Susan, call girl), Margaret Nolan (as Barbara, call girl)
NOTES:

Based on the stage play by Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott


Nobody Runs Forever (1968) Previous
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Writer: Wilfred Greatorex / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box
Type: Thriller Running Time: 97 mins
Scobie Malone is a police Detective Sergeant who lives in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territories keeping law and order in a sheep ranching community. Out of the blue he is summoned to the other side of the country by Inspector Leeds of Sydney CID to be given an important special assignment.

Malone is briefed by the premier of New South Wales himself about a murderer from 1951 who has not yet been brought to justice. The case involves a German refugee named Frieda Wisen who was married to an Australian national called John Corliz. Frieda was found dead in Tumba Rumba but her prime suspect husband disappeared and no trace of him has ever been found. But now Premier Flannery has uncovered irrefutable evidence that Corliz escaped detection by changing his identity. In his new identity he has become a distinguished diplomat and currently holds the position of Australia's High Commissioner to London and is now known as Sir James Quentin.

Malone's task is to fly to London and arrest Quentin then escort him back to Australia to stand trial. A lowly detective such as Malone was chosen in order to keep the matter low-profile. Flannery is a hard-nosed politician who never does anything without a reason and Malone suspects that Flannery's motives are driven more by the desire to eliminate a strong upcoming political rival than by the desire for justice.

Malone is given all the briefing notes to read on his flight over to London and although the report seems conclusive Malone has a gut feeling that something doesn't quite stack up. When Malone arrives at the High Commissioner's residence in London he informs Sir James that he has a warrant for his arrest and asks that he immediately accompany him back to Australia. Sir James is a highly principled man who accepts he must answer the charges but he is currently in the middle of a vitally important international trade conference which it is hoped will foster friendship between certain hostile nations. Sir James insists he cannot leave until the talks are over which Malone agrees to providing he can accompany Sir James everywhere he goes. Malone quickly discovers how loved Sir James is by his staff and wife Sheila who would all do anything for him. He seems to be a man that effortlessly inspires loyalty and devotion.

There are some factions who would much prefer the talks to fail. Organised crime syndicates who prosper in the midst of chaos and disorder have no wish to see harmony break out. These people view Sir James' efforts to unite the world through peaceful trade to be a threat to their power. An audacious attempt is made on Sir James' life which Malone manages to prevent. Malone now considers it his responsibility to keep Sir James alive and he sets about trying to find out who was behind it. The more time Malone spends in Sir James' company the harder it is for him to believe he could have murdered anyone. It just does not seem to be in his nature.

We discover that an influential foreign woman called Maria Cholon is masterminding the attempts to ruin the talks, She has several underlings who carry out her dirty work and has even recruited Sir James' butler Joseph to leak confidential information using his inside position. Another attempt is made to kill Sir James while he is attending the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in the royal box. Malone spots the sniper's rifle disguised as a movie camera just in time and saves Sir James' life once again.

Back at the residence Sir James' wife Lady Quentin has a private word with Malone. She tells him that her husband was not responsible for his first wife's death. Lady Quentin was having an affair with John Corliz, as he was known then, and she had gone to visit Frieda to tell her the score. The woman fell onto some scissors by accident and died. Malone indicates he thought it must be something like that but they nevertheless committed a felony by not reporting what happened and must still return to Australia to sort things out. Lady Quentin remains distressed about the predicament her husband is in and the risk to his career that such a scandal would cause.

Meanwhile Madame Cholon uses Joseph to smuggle a mantelpiece clock into the conference room telling him it contains a listening device. In fact it contains a bomb timed to go off at 3:00pm which will kill Sir James and all the delegates. Joseph is told to leave the country but when he finds out what he has been duped into doing he phones a warning which Lady Quentin takes. Joseph tells her when the bomb is set to explode and who is behind it.

Lady Quentin comes to a decision on how she can make amends for the trouble she has caused her husband. She writes out a letter and then at 2:40pm she removes the clock from the conference room without explanation. She then drives to Madame Cholon's residence and gets herself invited in for tea. At the stroke of 3:00pm she removes the clock from her bag and as Madame Cholon reacts in horror it explodes killing them both.

Sir James is utterly distraught even after reading his wife's confessional letter telling him why she did it. She believed this was the only way to save his life and his career. Sir James is devastated by his wife's death but knows he must do as she would have wanted and make sure the talks succeed.
Starring: Rod Taylor (as Scobie Malone, Australian detective sergeant), Christopher Plummer (as Sir James Quentin, high commissioner), Lilli Palmer (as Sheila Quentin, Sir James' wife), Camilla Sparv (as Lisa Pretorius, Sir James' secretary), Daliah Lavi (as Maria Cholon, enemy agent)
Featuring: Clive Revill (as Joseph, Sir James' butler), Lee Montague (as Donzil, special branch officer), Leo McKern (as Premier Flannery, [uncredited]), Calvin Lockhart (as Jamaica, foreign security services agent), Derren Nesbitt (as Pallana, assassin), Burt Kwouk (as Pham Chimh, Madame Cholon's aide), Russell Napier (as Inspector Leeds, Sydney CID), Ken Wayne (as Ferguson, Sir James chauffeur), Tony Selby (as Fake Cameraman at Wimbledon, [uncredited])
NOTES:

Based on the novel The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary


Not Now Darling (1973) Previous
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Writer: John Chapman / Directors: Ray Cooney David Croft / Producers: Peter J. Thompson, Martin C. Schute
Type: Comedy Running Time: 97 mins
Gilbert Bodley is the managing director of Bodley, Bodley & Crouch Furriers of Distinction and while his wife is away he is hoping to woo a glamorous girlfriend of his called Janie into bed with the expensive gift of a fur coat worth £5000. The only problem is the girlfriend is married and her husband would become suspicious if she suddenly came into possession of such an expensive gift. So Gilbert has told Janie to bring her husband along to buy it for her and it will be marked down to £500 and Gilbert will secretly pay the remaining £4500 himself - that way her husband will believe he bought it for her himself although Janie will know it's actually from Gilbert.

Gilbert gets his designer Arnold Crouch involved to make the sale and tells him the arrangements. When husband Harry arrives with Janie he seems reluctant to buy it even at £500 thinking there must be something wrong with it if it's going so cheap and he departs to go to a meeting leaving Janie there. Janie then proceeds to demand that Gilbert give her the coat as promised and takes all her clothes off to embarrass him into letting her have it - and she has to be hidden in the storeroom when visitors arrive. Harry later returns alone saying he has changed his mind and will buy the coat for £500 after all. But once Harry has bought it his secretary Sue arrives and he gives it to her instead as a thank you gift as he is secretly having an affair with her. Gilbert is aghast because he has paid for the lion's share of the coat but can't really explain about that. Fortunately Sue comes back alone later to return the coat saying she doesn't like it and even takes off her own skimpy dress to lend to Janie but then has to be hidden in the storeroom herself.

The farcical situations continue to develop thick and fast with the return home from holiday of Gilbert's wife; Sue's husband arriving looking for his wife; and Harry returning to look for his secretary; along with an elderly couple who pop in now and again to add to the mêlée of confusion. Misunderstandings and contrivances abound as Gilbert and Arnold attempt to juggle the two almost naked girls in the storerooms with the various visitors who all believe different things until the conclusion when it turns out that Janie's husband Harry and Gilbert's wife Maude are themselves having an affair.
Starring: Leslie Phillips (as Gilbert Bodley, managing director), Julie Ege (as Janie McMichael, Gilbert's mistress), Ray Cooney (as Arnold Crouch, designer), Barbara Windsor (as Sue Lawson, Harry's secretary), Derren Nesbitt (as Harry McMichael, Janie's husband), Joan Sims (as Miss Ambrosine Tipdale, receptionist), Moira Lister (as Maude Bodley, Gilbert's wife)
Featuring: Bill Fraser (as the Commissionaire), Jack Hulbert (as Commander Frencham), Cicely Courtneidge (as Mrs Frencham), Jackie Pallo (as Mr Lawson, Sue's husband)
Starlets: Trudi Van Doorn (as Miss Whittington, Furrier's model)
NOTES:

Based on the stage play by Ray Cooney and John Chapman

Trudi Van Doorn and Jackie Pallo both receive "introducing" credits. Although Trudi Van Doorn had previously already appeared in a 1971 sci-fi film called Quest for Love

Another Ray Cooney farce with the "Not Now" prefix was Not Now, Comrade (1976). That also starred Leslie Phillips and Ray Cooney but had no recurring characters.


Not Now, Comrade (1976) Previous
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Writer: Ray Cooney / Directors: Harold Snoad, Ray Cooney / Producer: Martin C. Schute
Type: Comedy Running Time: 85 mins
The famous male Russian ballet dancer Rudi Petrovyan is performing in Swan Lake in London while on a tour with the Russian National Ballet Company. Russian security men monitor his public appearances at all times to discourage any thoughts of his defection. However Rudi has fallen in love with a burlesque dancer called Barbara Wilcox whom he met in the club where she dances and they have concocted a plan to help him escape his minders so they can run off together. While the press are gathered outside the theatre taking photos of the troupe, Barbara stages a topless protest pretending she is anti-Russian. But really her exhibitionist display is a diversion to allow Rudi to slip away whilst she is the focus of everyone's attention. Rudi was supposed to hide in the boot of her car but unfortunately he gets into the wrong vehicle which drives off and an anxious Barbara has no choice but to follow. The two Russian security see what has happened and follow her.

The driver of the car is naval Commander Rimmington of the Ministry of Defence who is unaware he has a stowaway passenger. He drives home to his quiet country retreat in a fenced off estate. He lives with his wife Janet who is currently away and his unmarried daughter Nancy. After arriving he soon sets out again to go fishing.

Barbara arrives and releases Rudi from the boot but they cannot leave because the Russians are waiting at the gates. Rudi speaks no English and is always self-obsessively practising his dance moves with his very excitable artistic temperament. Nancy thinks their love affair is sweet and wants to help them evade the Russians. Nancy's new boyfriend Gerry Buss arrives whom her father has not yet met and Nancy persuades him to help too despite his reservations about getting involved in something with such diplomatic ramifications.

A serious-minded MI6 official called Mr Laver turns up with a coded message for Commander Rimmington which he insists he must deliver in person and will wait until the commander returns. This presents a problem to the schemers because he might see Rudi and recognise him from the news. Fortunately Laver has not actually met Commander Rimmington so Gerry pretends to be him so he can take the message. Barbara is introduced as his wife with Nancy as their nanny. Unfortunately Laver needs a reply before he can leave which Gerry clearly cannot provide - so to delay matters they get Laver drunk and keep him occupied in the garden.

The hectic situation intensifies when Commander Rimmington returns home and Gerry then has to pretend he is Laver with a message for the commander to reply to. Rimmington is mystified why everyone is behaving so oddly. The plotters hope that with luck they can get the reply from Rimmington and pass it to Laver without anyone meeting each other.

But matters get worse when the local policeman, Constable Pulford, arrives following up complaints of a man seen prancing around the garden in an effeminate manner. The constable gets caught up in the chaotic layers of identity swaps and it becomes increasingly difficult for the players to keep up to speed with who is supposed to be who to whom and who is whose wife or mistress. The constable begins to suspect that he has uncovered a den of inequity in this seemingly respectable household.

Then the real Mrs Rimmington returns home and hears strange stories about extra wives and suspects her husband is carrying on with other women whom he is pretending are his wife. Finally the cohorts are preparing to divert the Russians while Rudi and Barbara make a bid for freedom in another direction. But Rudi finally decides he has had enough of this mayhem and the crazy English people and decides he would prefer to go back to Russia after all.
Starring: Leslie Phillips (as Commander Rimmington), Michele Dotrice (as Nancy, Rimmington's daughter), Ian Lavender (as Gerry Buss, Nancy's boyfriend), Carol Hawkins (as Barbara Wilcox, stripper), Roy Kinnear (as Hoskins, gardener), Ray Cooney (as Mr Laver, MI6 official), Windsor Davies (as Constable Pulford), Lewis Fiander (as Rudi Petrovyan, ballet dancer)
Featuring: June Whitfield (as Janet, Rimmington's wife), Don Estelle (as Bobby Hargreaves, Rimmington's neighbour), Richard Marner and Michael Sharvell-Martin (as Russian Officials)
NOTES:

Another Ray Cooney farce with the "Not Now" prefix was Not Now Darling (1973). That also starred Leslie Phillips and Ray Cooney but had no recurring characters.


Not Tonight, Darling! (1971) Previous
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Writer: James Pillock / Director: Anthony Sloman / Producer: John M. Taylor
Type: Drama Running Time: 82 mins
Karen Williams is a housewife in her late twenties with a young son and a hard-working husband. But her husband John is very inattentive to her and takes her very much for granted - mornings have fallen into a silent ritual with nothing to say to each other barring routine domestic matters. She wants very much to communicate with him but has long since given up knowing he will be dismissive or fail to comprehend her needs. His work as a solicitor is stressful and with a long journey to work he always gets home late and is too tired to respond to any shows of affection she might give.

At the local grocers Karen unknowingly catches the eye of a travelling salesman called Alex Watkins - a man in his 40s with a predatory gleam in his eye. He makes a laddish bet with the shopkeeper that he can bed her within three days. He contrives to meet her in a bar when she is out with her friend Joan and his debonair manner impresses her enough that she agrees to go on a lunch date with him. Karen is charmed by this man, and the passionless state of her marriage has put her in a mind to be receptive to such male attentiveness. After a few dates they go back to his flat and have sex - but Alex is not as nice as he appears and his purpose in bedding her was more than simply winning a small bet - he has had a friend taking pictures of them together and soon afterwards Karen receives a package of photos in the post with a note threatening to expose her activities to her husband if she doesn't do what Alex's tells her.

So she feels obliged to go along with his instructions as Alex takes her to a swingers party and makes her watch as other couples there engage in sexual depravity and then she is pressured to join in unaware that the events are being secretly filmed through two-way mirrors. She is astonished to find her friend Joan there also who is independently amongst Alex's circle of friends. Karen later confides to Joan that the whole squalid experience left her feeling empty inside.

Not long after this one of husband John's clients is entertaining him and takes him to a Soho strip club where as part of the entertainment they show a blue movie. It is the film of the ravers party that Karen was at and John is astonished and appalled to see his wife up there on the screen participating in the events. He rushes home and accuses her of being a whore who makes him sick - he doesn't want his son to live with a woman who makes dirty movies - he refuses to hear anything she might have to say to defend her behaviour and proceeds to pack and take himself and their son away. She is left contemplating the situation.

Alex gets a bit of a comeuppance as Joan takes revenge on behalf of Karen by getting her friends to drive Alex and his photographer to the middle of nowhere and strip them naked and leave them in a field.
Starring: Luan Peters (as Karen Williams), Jason Twelvetrees (as John Williams, her husband), Vincent Ball (as Alex Watkins, her lover)
Featuring: Nicki Howorth (as Joan, Karen's friend), James Hayter. Bill Shine, Sean Barry
Starlets: Amber Harrison, Carol Catkin, The Tiffany Sisters (2 strippers), Patti Walby, Jenny D'Arcey, Sue Calder, June Palmer, Nicola Austin, Samantha Bond, Georgina Boyle
NOTES:

Nicki Howorth receives an "introducing" credit.


Nothing But the Best (1964) Previous
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Writer: Frederic Raphael / Director: Clive Donner / Producer: David Deutsch
Type: Drama Running Time: 96 mins
Jimmy Brewster is a highly ambitious young man who wants to cast aside his humble social beginnings and become an important player in the business world. He is charismatic and capable of much gall in presenting himself in a manner that allows him to mix with those of higher classes. Jimmy's financial position means he has to live in a cheap lodging house where he has to fend off the predatory yearnings of his voracious landlady Mrs March.

Jimmy currently has a junior position with an important city firm of real estate agents called Horton's where he uses cunning and trickery to ingratiate himself with those able to further his career - often at the expense of his naively amenable colleagues. The rich company boss Mr Horton mixes with nobility and lives accordingly in a plush mansion estate. Horton has an attractive daughter called Ann whom Jimmy takes a fancy to and realises that a relationship with her would be of immense professional benefit. Ann's fiancé is Lord Hugh Langham whom Jimmy is tasked with showing the ropes so he can learn the business from the ground up. Hugh clearly stands in the way of Jimmy's ambitions and so Jimmy manages to several times engineer events to make Hugh appear foolishly incompetent and then step in save the day himself. Jimmy's innate charm and adroit bearing appeals to Ann and they begin to see each other socially and Hugh becomes sidelined.

Jimmy happens to meet a man called Charlie Prince who is a member of the upper classes down on his luck and forever on the scrounge. Jimmy allows Charlie to stay at his digs in return for advice and tuition on how to fit in with the upper echelons of society. Charlie possesses the necessary breeding and inside knowledge about skills of eloquence and sophistication that Jimmy will need if he is to make the next step up the ladder and unquestionably pass himself off as one born into privilege.

Jimmy's impressive business successes do not go unnoticed by Mr Horton who begins to see Jimmy as an indispensable and reliable employee and of a sufficiently high breeding to be worthy of his daughter's affection. A date is set for Ann and Jimmy's wedding.

But then Charlie Prince starts causing Jimmy problems and Jimmy fears his carefully manufactured charade will be irretrievably exposed. So Jimmy strangles Charlie and hides his body in the cellar of his digs. Landlady Mrs March discovers what he has done but for a suitable favour she keeps his secret.

Jimmy goes on to marry Ann, they move into a new house, and he becomes a partner in the firm. Everything has worked out perfectly for Jimmy until he gets a letter from Mrs March saying she has sold her house to developers and has moved to South Africa. Jimmy rushes round but he is too late and the bulldozers have already moved in and Charlie's body is discovered.

As the film ends Jimmy is already formulating in his mind a story that will represent Mrs March as a ghastly murderess who did away with a gentleman friend and then emigrated to escape justice. But it is left up in the air whether or not he is going to get away with it.
Comment: A further story complication is that Charlie Prince turns out to be Mr Horton's disowned son and so possibly Charlie was helping Jimmy as a payback. However the story would have worked the same without that revelation.
Starring: Alan Bates (as Jimmy Brewster), Millicent Martin (as Ann Horton), Denholm Elliott (as Charlie Prince), Harry Andrews (as Mr Horton, Ann's father and company boss)
Featuring: Pauline Delaney (as Mrs Zena March, Jimmy's landlady), James Villiers (as Lord Hugh Langham, Ann's boyfriend), Godfrey Quigley (as Coates, head of Coates Construction firm), Alison Leggatt (as Jimmy's mother), Nigel Stock (as Ferris, Jimmy's immediate boss), Avice Landon (as Mrs Horton, Ann's mother)
Familiar Faces: William Rushton (as Gerry, party friend)
Starlets: Lucinda Curtis (a Nadine, Horton's telephonist), Anneke Wills (as Customer, [Credited as Annika Wills])
NOTES:

Based on a short story by Stanley Ellin


Nothing But the Night (1972) Previous
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Novel: John Blackburn / Writer: Brian Hayles / Director: Peter Sasdy / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys
Type: Crime Drama Running Time: 86 mins
Three rich and influential elderly people commit suicide within hours of each other and it turns out that all of them were trustees of the Van Traylen fund which was set up by one of the dead - Helen Van Traylen. Police inspector Colonel Charles Bingham becomes interested in the case because one of the other dead trustees had been a friend of his. His investigation takes him to a London hospital where a 10-year-old girl called Mary Valley is being treated following a coach crash involving an outing of children from an orphanage run by the Trust.

The hospital pathology lab is headed by a good friend of the colonels called Sir Mark Ashley. One of Sir Mark's junior colleagues, called Peter Haynes, is treating Mary and believes he has discovered something strange about her case - he has observed that in her half-conscious state she has been having wild nightmares and vocalising in a panicked voice about a fire - yet there was no fire associated with the crash in which she was involved and in fact her injuries were fairly minor.

The coach crash was publicised and Mary's picture had appeared in the paper and was seen by her mother, Anna Harb, who wants her back. Anna is a convicted murderess who has served her time but now wants the return of her child who was taken into care although the trust are resisting such a move on the grounds that she is a highly unsuitable person. Dr Haynes thinks that seeing her mother might help Mary but when he sets up a meeting Haynes is later found dead and Anna has gone on the run. The trustees soon come and collect Mary to take her back to the orphanage situated on a remote Scottish island. Anna Harb follows and goes to the island still determined to get her daughter back.

Colonel Bingham believes that the trustee suicides were in fact murders and the coach crash may have been an unsuccessful attempt to murder more of them with the children being purely incidental victims. He thinks that it may be Anna Harb who is responsible and is getting her own back for the trust taking her daughter away from her. He persuades Sir Mark to accompany him to Scotland to investigate some more. A reporter called Joan Foster is also on the case intrigued by Mary's story and in possession of some of Dr Haynes' personal notes.

Anna's car is discovered on the island and a search is mounted for her and a police guard placed on the orphanage grounds. The orphanage is run by Mrs Alison and two eminent doctors Yeats and Rose who all refuse to let the police search the actual building. The resourceful Anna manages to slip past the police cordon and get into the grounds where she is captured by someone unseen.

Working together Sir Mark and reporter Joan eventually uncover the truth behind the trust's activities. They realise that 10-year-old Mary's unpleasant memories match the experiences of the trust founder Helen Van Traylen's from 30 years ago when she was burnt in a fire and lost her husband. And then Sir Mark discovers that the trustees had already been dead when their suicide events were staged. And with the revelation that Dr Rose's specialism is the biochemical relationship between brain and personality and that Dr Yeats is a brain surgeon - both eminent in their fields - it becomes clear that the immensely wealthy but ageing trustee members have been successfully trying to achieve immortality by having their adult knowledge and personalities transplanted into the children under their care.

Colonel Bingham confronts the children at a cliffside bonfire party where he witness them burning Mary's captured mother Anna to death. It was Mary who murdered Dr Haynes because he was getting too close to the truth and she had no wish to go and live with her mother since she was no longer Mary but now possessed the mind of the twisted and ruthless Helen Van Traylen. The children who are now all trustee transformees capture the Colonel and prepare to kill him in the fire. But then Sir Mark and Joan fly above in a police helicopter and this fans the fire and Mary/Helen is set alight burning her as she had been once before in her former life. She realises that their plan has been uncovered and they will all be locked up and studied and with no wish to live another life burnt and scarred she jumps off the cliff to her death. And all the other devoted children/trustees follow their leader and also commit suicide jumping from the cliff like lemmings.
Starring: Christopher Lee (Col Charles Bingham), Peter Cushing (as Sir Mark Ashley), Diana Dors (as Anna Harb), Georgia Brown (as Joan Foster, reporter), Gwyneth Strong (as Mary Valley)
Featuring: Keith Barron (as Dr Peter Haynes), Fulton Mackay (as Chief Constable Cameron), Michael Gambon (as Inspector Grant), John Robinson (as Lord Fawnlee, at orphanage), Morris Perry (as Dr Yeats, at orphanage), Shelagh Fraser (as Mrs Alison, at orphanage), Kathleen Byron (Dr Rose, at orphanage)
NOTES:

Although tinged with horror/fantasy elements nearer the end most of the film has the feel of a crime drama with the police investigating some murders and therefore it would be somewhat misleading to class it under either of those other categories.

The 10-year-old girl playing a leading co-starring role as Mary went on to become most well known as an adult actress for playing Cassandra in BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.


Nudist Paradise (1959) Previous
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aka: Nature's Paradise
Writers: Denise Kaye, Leslie Bell / Director: Charles Saunders / Producer: Frank Bevis
Type: Nudist / Drama Running Time: 63 mins
Joan Stanton is a young woman who works in an office as a typist with her friend Pat Beatty. Pat has been seeing an art student from America called Mike Malone whom she knows has only gone out with her as a way of getting to know Joan whom he adores from afar. Pat tries to persuade Joan to come dancing with her at the weekend so she can meet him and see if she likes him, but Joan is not interested because she spends every weekend doing the thing she loves most. Joan longs to tell Pat her secret but isn't sure how she'll react, but feels sure she'd like it if she tried it.

On Saturday Joan heads off on her bicycle into the English countryside unaware that she is being followed by Mike who is determined to meet her and find out where she goes every weekend. But down the winding narrow lanes he loses her and has to give up. In fact Joan had turned into a side lane marked "Spielplatz" which is a nudist camp! This is Joan's secret pleasure which she enjoys every weekend to wind down from the stresses of the working week and she even has her own permanent chalet at the camp. She quickly sheds her clothes and meets up with her friend Jimmy Ross as they go swimming and enjoy other healthy outdoor activities in the idyllic surroundings. Being here makes Joan feel really alive and she can think of nothing she would rather be doing.

The following Monday Joan at last tells Pat all about her regular weekend activities and urges Pat to come with her next weekend and give it a try. Pat thinks she would be too shy but eventually agrees to go along. The following Saturday they both cycle to the camp, followed once again by Mike determined to get to the bottom of Joan's mystery sojourns this time. He sees them head down a side lane and follows only to discover he has entered a nudist camp! But Mike is not deterred and purchases a day pass.

Pat stays in Joan's chalet and is soon taking her first shy steps as a nudist. Her reservations and inhibitions evaporate as she quickly realises that it is not as bad as she thought it would be. She meets Pat's friend Jimmy and they seem to hit it off. Then they meet Mike who abashedly admits that he's probably gone to far following them here and feels like a bit of a heel now. But Joan sees the funny side of it and welcomes him as a new member and she and Jimmy show Pat and Mike around.

That weekend the camp is staging its annual Venus Beauty contest and Pat has become so at ease with being naked that she enters the contest and wins! She cannot believe how much she is enjoying it and laughs at how reluctant she was feeling beforehand and how she almost never agreed to come.

These weekends away at the nudist camp become a regular thing for the four of them with both Pat & Jimmy and Joan & Mike becoming couples. And ten months later Joan and Mike have announced their engagement and the camp chooses them to be their representatives at the 6th World Naturist Congress next year in the grounds of Woburn Abbey, the home of the Duke of Bedford.
Comment: The story is book-ended by Joan telling her story to a journalist and at the end we discover that Joan and Mike have now been happily married for over a year and have their first baby.
Starring: Anita Love (as Joan Stanton), Katy Cashfield (as Pat Beatty), Carl Conway (as Mike Malone), Dennis Carnell (as Jimmy Ross)
Featuring: Emma Young (as Nudist Camp Receptionist), Walter Randall (as Camp Warden), Celia Hewitt (as Journalist, in framing sequence)
Starlets: Isuelt Richardson (née Mackaskie, as Beauty Contest Pose Demonstrator, [uncredited])
(Contestants) Cosette Mackaskie, Janie, Maureen (all uncredited other than having their first names called in the dialogue by the camp warden - Isuelt and Cosette were the grown up daughters of the real-life camp owners Charles and Dorothy Mackaskie, the other contestants' full names are unknown)
Also: (Non-Speaking Cameos) Duke of Bedford, Charles and Dorothy Mackaskie (Camp Owners)
NOTES:

The version reviewed carried the American title of Nature's Paradise

Footage from this film is featured in Carry on Camping (1969). It is the film that Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw hoodwinked their unimpressed girlfriends into going to see at the cinema by telling them it was a film about camping.

This was the first of what became a string of British films from around this time that managed to get around strict censorship rules on nudity by featuring stories involving naturism activities. The others were:- Travelling Light (1959), Nudist Memories (1959), The Nudist Story (1960), Some Like It Cool (1961), Nudes of the World (1961), Sunswept (1961), Naked - as Nature Intended (1961), World Without Shame (1962), Take Off Your Clothes And Live! (1962), My Bare Lady (1963), Eves on Skis (1963), It's A Bare, Bare World! (1963), The Reluctant Nudist (1963).


Number One Gun (1990) Previous
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Writer: Jeremy Lee Francis / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Producer: Elizabeth Gray
Type: Action Running Time: 89 mins
Charles Bind is considered to be MI5's top agent although his boss Stockwell has high hopes for a new agent called Flash Fairmaid who is outclassing all his fellow agents with his abilities and successes. Lots of the world's best secret agents have gone missing lately and Bind is given the mission of finding a Russian KRASH agent called Kissov who is believed to be behind it. Bind is teamed up with a female CIA agent called Gemini Skymaster - although she proves a liability as she keeps getting herself captured and in need of rescue.

Flash Fairmaid is in fact a traitor and is working with Kissov who has gotten hold of a special pill that creates a perfect disguise and Kissov uses them to transform himself into women or older men to hide his true identity. Kissov is assisting Flash's meteoric rise to the top of the British security services and soon the traitorous agent has become head of MI5 replacing Stockwell - and his number one priority is to eliminate the only man who might stop him:- Charles Bind.

Using gadgetry and skill Bind overcomes a number of traps set for him and rescues Gemini several times after she is captured. Eventually Flash and Bind meet in combat and Bind manages to overcome his rival and reinstate Stockwell as head of section. Bind then fights with Kissov in his true form - that of a strong lithe youthful muscleman - and manages to defeat him too - then rushes off to rescue Gemini for one final time.
Comment: This film seems quite amateurishly put together with embarrassingly poor dialogue and acting - but not in any post-ironic way that makes it seem deliberate - and despite the various scantily-clad sexy girls featured there is pointedly no nudity at all and so it is unclear quite what audience it would have been aimed at.
Starring: Michael Howe (as Charles Bind), Gary Hope (as Kissov, in main disguise as 'Ace'), Gerald Sim (as Stockwell, MI5 boss), Michael Cochrane (as Flash Fairmaid, traitorous British agent)
Featuring: Cleo Rocos (as Juicy Pair, Ace's moll), Rosalind Mercier (as Gemini Skymaster, CIA agent), Scott Mitchell (as The Real Kissov), Peter Burton (as Merlin, MI5 gadget man), Sheila Dunn (as The Liquidator, KRASH agent)
Starlets: (cameo parts) Sussanna Page (as Female Kissov), Clair Duval (as Pleasure Unit), Helen Rose, Rochelle Miller, Ondine Chardlow and Kathy Goldman (as KRASH Unit Girls), Tessa Crockett (as Hooker), Lydia Watson (as Female Flash)
NOTES:

Director's name credited as Lindsay C. Shonteff

There were two earlier 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 other was Licensed to Love and Kill (1979) in which Gareth Hunt played the lead. Gary Hope played the chief villain in the second film like he does in this film but as a different character. The first film was a reasonable effort but the second and third are fairly amateurish looking.


Nutcracker (1982) Previous
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aka: Nutcracker Sweet
Writer: Raymond Christodoulou / Director: Anwar Kawadri / Producer: Panos Nicolaou
Type: Drama Running Time: 96 mins
Renowned Russian principal ballerina Nadia Gargarin is on a British tour with a Russian dance company when she flees her minders trying to escape the traditions that stifle her. She wishes to defect to the West and presents herself at the London premises of a British ballet company with a view to joining them. Laura Carrère, the owner of the Carrère International Dance Company, cannot believe her good fortune and Nadia becomes her new principal ballerina although her presence is being kept secret until her asylum request has been approved. The Russians are searching for her and have publicly explained her absence through injury.

Nadia has integrated well into the existing company but hears stories from the other girls who believe they are treated harshly. Meanwhile an inquisitive newspaper journalist called Mike McCann has spotted Nadia and traced her to the Carrère Dance Company. He is determined to get himself an exclusive and sets about to gain photographic proof to challenge the official statement explaining her absence on the tour. After many attempts he manages to meet her but she persuades him not to write his story for a few days until her asylum application has been approved when she promises to give him an exclusive.

But Nadia fails to keep her appointment with Mike for his exclusive story and when he goes to the Carrère Company to see what has happened to her he finds owner Laura Carrère distraught as her entire company has deserted her. She shows him a letter from Nadia which explains that she has returned to Russia because she found the so-called freedoms she was seeking were misused and she has persuaded the whole Carrère company of discontented dancers to up-sticks and go with her on a Russian tour.
Starring: Joan Collins (as Laura Carrere), Paul Nicholas (as Mike McCann, journalist), Carol White (as Margaux Lasselle, Mike's girlfriend), Finola Hughes (Nadia Gargarin, Russian ballerina)
Featuring: Murray Melvin (as Leopold, Laura's personal assistant), William Franklyn (as Sir Arthur Cartwright, Laura's board chairman), Leslie Ash (as Sharon, Laura's receptionist)
Familiar Faces: Ed Bishop
Starlets: Geraldine Gardner, Cherry Gillespie (as Mireille, dancer), Jane Wellman (as Grace, dancer), Patti Hammond (as Sue, dancer), Lizzie Green (as Jakki, dancer), Anna Bergman, Nicky Austin
Also: (as other unnamed collectively grouped dancers) Victoria Shellard, Anita Mahadervan, Helen Mason, Julia De Peyer, Seeta Indrani, Pauline Crawford, Rosemarie Ford
NOTES:

Finola Hughes receives an "introducing" credit

Amongst the background dancers are two future famous faces. Seeta Indrani who appeared as a regular in The Bill from 1989 to 1998, and Rosemarie Ford who was hostess on The Generation Game with Bruce Forsyth in the early 1990s. They don't have prominent roles in this film with no dialogue and are really just there to make up the numbers in the dance-school rehearsal scenes.

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