Fangs of the Living Dead (1969) AKA Malenka the Vampire and a few other titles
Written and directed by Amando de Ossorio
This Spanish-Italian production from the fellow who later gave viewers the fairly well-regarded Blind Dead series (none of which I have seen) provides pretty typical vampire stuff. It's notable for being one of three European horror movies given new "Living Dead" titles and released to American theaters as part of an "Orgy of the Living Dead."
Revenge of the Living Dead (1966) is actually The Murder Clinic. I haven't seen it, but it's apparently a non-supernatural serial killer mystery with nothing remotely resembling living dead. Curse of the Living Dead (1966) is actually Kill, Baby . . . Kill!. Despite the lousy title, it's a very good ghost story. Note the unreadable sidebar, which claims that some guy went insane after seeing these three movies.
Fangs of the Living Dead stars Anita Ekberg as a model, living in Rome, who is about to be married. She gets a message that she's inherited a castle and the title of Countess. Off she goes to some vaguely Germanic place. At the castle is her youngish, slightly sinister uncle. As in a lot of these movies, there's a painting that looks just like her, except its got black hair instead of blonde. It turns out that the painting is of her grandmother Malenka. Uncle explains that Malenka was burned at the stake for her experiments with immortality, which led to vampirism. It isn't long before Uncle reveals himself to be well over a century old. A woman shows up who almost puts the bite on Ekberg until Uncle stops her. A woman in the village dies of "anemia" and comes back with fangs. Uncle convinces Ekberg to write to her intended to break off their engagement because she is doomed to become a vampire as well. Her future husband and his comic relief buddy show up to try to straighten things out.
All of this plays out slowly, in predictable fashion, until the ending. The plot twists at the end make no sense at all.
It turns out that all this vampire stuff was a hoax, so that Ekberg could be declared insane and Uncle could inherit the castle. However, when the hero kills Uncle, he withers away into a skeleton, suggesting he really was a vampire. Just before the end credits, the comic relief guy is approached by a local woman who wants to go to Rome with him. He opens his mouth, revealing a set of fangs.
Not a very good film, but amusing enough to pass the time.
The Murder Clinic (1966) (La lama nel corpo ["The blade in the body"]) AKA Revenge of the Living Dead
(This is the last film in the infamous "Orgy of the Living Dead" triple feature that I have seen. It contains no living dead of any kind.)
This Italian shocker begins with a hooded figure skulking around with black gloves and a straight razor. Yes, we're firmly in giallo territory, as the original title suggests. Surprisingly, the time is the Nineteenth Century. If there's another giallo with an historical setting, I'm not aware of it.
The setting is an isolated mental hospital. Right away we see our hidden murderer attack a mute woman who, intelligently, runs away. The killer catches up with her and finishes her off. (Unlike later giallos, the violence is not very explicit, nor is there any nudity.)
An unusual plot twist happens right away, as a woman traveling in a coach with a man bashes him on the head when he has to stop to repair the vehicle. The horse runs off with the coach, so she wanders around and sees one of the hospital staff hiding the murdered woman's body in a grotto. After a night spent sleeping outdoors the doctor who runs the place finds her and takes her in.
Let's see; we've got the doctor's wife; we've got the wife's sister, hidden away upstairs; we've got the newly arrived young nurse; we've got the muscular orderly; we've got the male patient who seems nice enough, but has fits of violence; we've got the elderly female patient who clings to a dead cat for comfort; and probably some other characters I've forgotten. A lot goes on. The film moves briskly, although we've got plenty of time for folks wandering around dark corridors and such. There are plenty of red herrings, and the identity of the killer isn't obvious, but is fairly clued. All in all, an entertaining horror whodunit.
Armored Car Robbery (1950) Charles McGraw as the cop who runs the investigation into the title incident. Though the mastermind planned it carefully, believing it would take the cops no less than 3 minutes to reach the scene, a patrol car was just around the corner. One of four crooks mortally wounded, and as I recall, one or two guards / armored car guys were also killed. But the other 3 crooks are still in town, & the hardest part, is getting out of town.
Another Noir Alley presentation. interesting details Good example of the genre.
Berkley Square (1933) Leslie Howard as a man who "time-travels" to the 18th century and take the role of his ancestor. No details of how he does this, so no sci-fi elements here. Having read his ancestor's diary, he supposes that he will be well prepared for life in the 18th C, but he is off with some dates, and people think him a sorcerer because he speaks of things yet to come, or, unfinished paintings that only the artist should know about.
The Red Balloon (1956). As I recall, they showed this in elementary school, or was it a children's Television Workshop film; I cannot recall which. Anyway, a little boy frees a balloon from a lamp post on which its string had been tied. Thankful, it follows him around. But the other boys want to burst it.
Secrets (1933) Mary Pickford & Leslie Howard as a young couple who fall in love, despite her parents wish for her to marry an upper class snob. They leave New England, & go toward California. Ned Sparks (the man who supposedly never smiles) as LH's partner.
I just watched Chef with Jon Favreau. It came up on another thread which reminded me I wanted to watch it. It's good and what I would call family friendly. Burnt was a deeper more intense film on the subject but not always fun. Jon Favreau also gets to show off some of his real chef skills.
Somehow, this movie seemed cooler than the first time I watched it!
Lori Petty (title star) overshadowed everyone, but I'm sure that was intentional. This movie wasn't destined to win Academy Awards, but it is an exciting, fun romp - unless you go and do something stupid, like try to make sense of the plot!
Adaptation of the "unauthorized autobiography" of game show creator and host Chuck Barris, who made the outrageous claim that he was an assassin for the CIA. The movie captures the weirdness of the book, which I recently read, balancing the goofiness of the creation of "The Dating Game" and "The Gong Show" with Barris' messy personal life and what one hopes is the completely fictional world of espionage and murder. Filmed in a very sophisticated and complex manner, constantly jumping back and forth in time. Sometimes scenes which occur at different times and places are shown simultaneously, without the use of split screens.
Harper (1966); directed by Jack Smight, screenplay by William Goldman, based on The Moving Target by Ross Macdonald; starring Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner, Pamela Tiffin, Arthur Hill, Shelley Winters
Another one that showed on Turner Cable Movies, this introduced by Ben Mankiewicz. I'd seen an edited version way back when it was a fairly recent movie, and I'd forgotten a lot about it.
Maybe the best cast I've ever seen in a movie mystery. Bacall, an invalid, hires Lew Harper (Archer in the books, but Newman had a string of hits with H in the title -- Hud, The Hustler -- and someone superstitious changed the name; Mankiewicz says Newman, but I've heard before it was a producer) to find her missing husband. He's been gone about a day and has a habit of running off with young women before reappearing. She doesn't really care if he's found dead, she just doesn't want him giving away his fortune -- a while before he'd given a mountain top to a self-proclaimed holy man (Strother Martin). Mankiewicz noted a sort of tip of the hat to Bacall's career: One of her first movies was The Big Sleep, in which she played the daughter of an invalid and here an invalid on prickly terms with her husband's daughter (Tiffin, whose appearance alone would mark this as a '60s movie).
The movie pretty much follows the novel, though Harper's wife (Janet Leigh; really good cast) is divorcing him. This is consistent with the Macdonald series, though in his novels it happened previous to this. And it was another H hit for Newman, whose underlying sense of humor keeps cropping up at good times.
Kidnapping, murder, smuggling, a fading actress (Winters), a drug-addict singer (Harris), duplicity and the revelation of family secrets are all unwound in about 2 hours, mostly in sun-drenched Technicolor making it one of those movies that seemed to revel in the prosperity of its time even as it picked at the decadence and hypocrisy of the rich. Really, though, a mystery well worth the time spent watching it.