What was the last movie you saw?

J Riff

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Heh, well no reviews here, just actual warnings, to not watch House Shark, or Clownado. Just don't, no matter what you read elsewhere.
I'm off to investigate a few more flims of this type, but most of them are so crummy that fast forward isn't enough, you have to just keep jumping ahead, and when it's over you regret the twenty minutes you spent even looking at bits of them.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle (1963)

One of many German krimi films of the time. A fellow living in a castle rented from a birdwatching Scottish laird (the movie's comic relief) is about to be knighted. A hooded, gloved figure strangles a handyman outside the place, breaks inside, and confronts the fellow at gunpoint. The strangler claims that the guy killed somebody and stole a bunch of raw diamonds. The fellow refuses to tell where the diamonds are hidden. The intruder runs off when the guy's niece and the laird show up. We soon find out that the fellow really does have a bunch of hidden diamonds, and is planning to sell them off to pay off debts. Interfering with his scheme is the fact that the folks he sends out to deliver the diamonds wind up killed, decapitated, and with the letter M written on their foreheads. It's a moody, fog-shrouded thriller, one of the better of its kind.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Teenage Wolfpack (1956)

Juvenile delinquency film centered around two brothers. The elder ran off from home, the other stayed with his family. Dad owes a bunch of money because he co-signed a loan for his brother-in-law. Elder brother gets younger to go in on a plan to rob a mail truck, with ironic results, leading to another botched robbery and the downbeat ending. There's also the elder brother's girlfriend, who turns out to be more of a femme fatale than we thought. If this seems like the typical teenagers-in-trouble flick, that's because I failed to mention the fact that it's a German film, whose real title is Die Halbstarken (which seems to mean something like "the half-tough.") That gives it an offbeat feeling which makes it a little more interesting.
 

Elckerlyc

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They basically followed the Oregon trail in real life to film it. And the scene where they lower the wagons and cattle on ropes down into a canyon? No special effects. They did it for real. It's mind-blowing.
Which reminds me of the movie Fitzcarraldo in which they actually dragged a river steamboat across a steep hill to reach another river at the other side.
This was a reenactment of a historic event, so it has been accomplished twice.
fitzcarraldo3.jpg
 

Jeffbert

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Moonraker (1979) Pure comic book fantasy. But entertaining, no less. Who knew that the U.S.A. already had a Spaceforce, complete with Space infantry, armed with lasers, etc., and a Space Shuttle, all fueled and ready to launch at a moment's notice, to go into orbit and defeat the villain and his minions. :ROFLMAO: Still don't know whence comes the title, as the Moon had nothing to do with it.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Well, it's the title of an Ian Fleming novel about Bond; as usual, they just took the title and threw away the plot. I guess the title suggested the space theme, as well as the popularity of Star Wars.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Heartthrobs Turned Psycho Killers Double Feature:

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)

Sal Mineo stars as a waiter at a discotheque who stalks a woman (Juliet Prowse) who works there playing records. He starts by making anonymous, suggestive phone calls, then leaves a decapitated teddy bear in her apartment. Jan Murray, of all people, is the detective investigating the case, and he's a bit of an odd duck himself. Obsessed with sex criminals because his own wife was raped and murdered, he lives with his ten-year-old daughter, who has picked up enough about his work that at one point she asks if Prowse is a hooker. Mineo lives with his adult sister, who has the mind of a child. Blurry flashbacks reveal the fact that she saw her brother in bed with an older woman (possibly their mother, if you want to interpret things in the most shocking way), ran away, fell down a flight of stairs, and hit her head. Things go from bad to worse, with no good consequences for anybody. It's a very gritty, frank film for its time. The camera spends at least as much time lingering over the semi-nude, very attractive body of Mineo as it does over that of Prowse. Mineo gives an intense performance. Filmed on location in New York City, it's also a compelling portrait of the time and place, from the discotheque, where men in suits and ties and women in knee-length dresses dance wildly to rock and roll, to the sleazier parts of Times Square, with its adult book stores and movie houses (which would be rated PG-13 nowadays.) Excellent black-and-white cinematography. It's quite a good movie.

Sweet Kill (1973) AKA The Arousers (1976)

Tab Hunter stars as a high school teacher and coach. Since he's a golden god, it's no big surprise that a young woman comes on to him strong. He is unable to complete the encounter, pushes her away, and accidentally kills her. We've already seen an opening sequence, in sepia tones and with big band music playing on the radio, in which a somewhat older woman took off all her 1940's clothes, with a small set of sneakers behind a curtain implying that her son, a young Hunter, was watching her. This seems to be confirmed during a scene in which Hunter hires a prostitute to dress up in 1940's clothing. In this surprisingly tender scene, he partly undresses her, then places his head on her stomach. Anyway, Hunter hides the body, kills another woman who comes on to him, and eventually has to do away with the roommate of his first victim, who tries to track down her missing friend. (In an odd scene, when the cops visit her after she reports her roommate as a missing person, they find some marijuana and arrest her.) There's also a slightly older woman, a fellow teacher, who seems to want to have a romance with Hunter, and who gets mixed up in the unpleasant events that follow. At times it's just a standard, sleazy slasher film, at others times it's a pretty effective psychological melodrama. Hunter's performance ranges from quiet to frenzied; the former works better. The ending isn't very satisfying. This bombed when it first came out, so they added completely unrelated nude scenes of women who don't appear anywhere else in the film, gave it a suggestive title, came up with a new ad campaign without a hint that it was anything but a sex film, and even removed Tab Hunter's name from the poster, which just listed the names of the actresses. It still bombed.
 

Randy M.

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Moonraker (1979) Pure comic book fantasy. But entertaining, no less. Who knew that the U.S.A. already had a Spaceforce, complete with Space infantry, armed with lasers, etc., and a Space Shuttle, all fueled and ready to launch at a moment's notice, to go into orbit and defeat the villain and his minions. :ROFLMAO: Still don't know whence comes the title, as the Moon had nothing to do with it.
I agree with Victoria. Once the major titles were filmed, lesser books and short stories were scavenged for titles and the plots tossed aside. Note too that Moonraker was the follow up to the hugely successful The Spy Who Loved Me (one of that year's top grossing movies in spite of running against the first Star Wars movie), and is essentially the same story transposed to outer space, the character slots filled in with a less compelling cast and because of his popularity in the earlier movie a return of Richard Kiel as Jaws. As I recall, Moore and Kiel became good friends.

Randy M.
 

CupofJoe

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I think Fleming got Moonraker from a friend's suggestion when he could not decide on a title [actually I thought he got it from a house on Jamaica - like Goldeneye - but when I checked...]. A Moonraker is the very topmost sail of a square ridge mast.
 
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Randy M.

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Heartthrobs Turned Psycho Killers Double Feature:

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) ...

Sweet Kill (1973) AKA The Arousers (1976) ...
Interesting movies. Who Killed Teddy Bear has some familiar faces, like Daniel J. Travanti (Hill Street Blues), Elaine Stritch (30 Rock, but probably better known on Broadway) and Bruce Glover (Chinatown, also Crispin Glover's father). Mineo was probably already on the down-slide. No one argued he could act, but his sexuality was used against him. He's a sad story of a talent lost too early.

Sweet Kill must have been when Hunter's career was on the decline, when '50s and early '60s movie stars were rapidly deconstructing (when not just destructing) their careers by playing against type. Unlike Mineo he was able to survive those times in spite of his sexuality, and later playing against tye with John Waters revived his career somewhat. Maybe more interesting is that the movie was written and directed by Curtis Hanson who went on to write and direct The Bedroom Window, which I remember as a good thriller, and L. A. Confidential which I remember as a superior thriller not least because it made stars out of Russell Crowe and Guy Pierce, and for about the first time brought wide-spread recognition that Kim Basinger could act, not just look good.

Randy M.
 

Jeffbert

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The Woman on the Beach (1947) Tod Butler (Charles Bickford) as a blind ex-painter whose bitterness at his condition makes him and his wife Peggy (Joan Bennett) miserable. Butler has retained many of his paintings, resisting his wife's desires to sell them. Along comes Scott Burnett (Robert Ryan), a Coast Guard Lieutenant, whose memories of being aboard a ship sunken during WWII have rendered him likewise. He falls for Peggy, and becomes convinced that Tod Butler is not blind, and tries a bold move to prove it.

Another Noir Alley presentation, Muller's telling about the making of this film, was even more interesting than the film itself. It was the victim of a change in leadership at RKO, as was its creator, Jean Renoir.

I enjoyed it.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Secret Agent Fireball (Le spie uccidono a Beirut, 1965)

Better than average Eurospy flick. Starts with one of two scientists who defected (or maybe pretended to defect) to the Soviet Union getting killed in Paris by a poison dart shot from a dart gun disguised as a pipe. Our hero, American agent Bob Fleming (as in Ian) gets assigned to the case. The trail leads from Paris to Hamburg to Beirut, where, as the original title implies, most of the action takes place. Folks good and bad get killed, beauties good and bad show up, gun fights, knife fights, fist fights, chases by foot, car, motorboat and helicopter. Along for the ride are the niece of the guy who has the microfilm that everybody is after, and the hero's sidekick, a cab driver who provides both comic relief and some real help. I'm not sure that all of the plot twists make sense, but some of them are nicely ironic. If nothing else, you get a good look at Beirut before the civil war that tore it apart.
 

Judderman

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Judy and Ad Astra.
Judy is well worth watching for a good biopic/drama. Ad Astra -a little disappointing.

At home recently watched The Intruder, which was not original but fairly entertaining. A family purchase a house, and then find the seller keeps coming around and is increasingly disturbing.
 

J Riff

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Good reviews from Victoria there, of flims that not many people get around to, but, is Brides of Blood one of them reviewed recently that I missed or have forgotten about?
Dunno, but it was acceptable here, for some reason - a scientist and his wife and pal go to an island to investigate the effects of atomic radiation from nearby Bikini Atoll, and sure enough some animals and plants are acting up. The 1st thing they see are long vegetable arms, of some plant, reaching out and scaring the wife, who's screams are some of her best lines. The natives have 'returned to the ways of our ancestors' which they are ashamed of, and which means they are tying women up out in the jungle and leaving them for a yet-unnamed monster of some kind, which apparently rends them limb from limb. This big beastie looks like a Tiki-man, squarehead kind of monster with big smiling teeth, and it goes 'Uhn, uhn, Urg Oog' with a lot of reverb as it walks around.
There's a couple interludes of no dialogue, just soundtrack, which is nice, and the ending of this movie is strange too, as the monster issue
is seemingly dealt with, with about ten minutes left in the movie, so at the end we get the obligatory dance scene with the drums and the romance and all that... and it happily ends.
I think that's pretty much how it went, unless I mis-watched it somehow, it was quite late and the drums were somewhat hypnotic.
 

J Riff

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End of the World 1977 Well this one hooked me off the top, as a guy is playing Pinball in a roadside diner, a Bally machine called Discotek, a 3-flipper job that I wasted some quarters on in the 70s meself - when Christopher Lee walks in behind him, dressed like a padre, and stands there staring around the room like 'what am I doing in this turkey' ... he looks stunned and he says " Please. Need to call the police before it's too late..."
The owner-guy gives him a dime, and Lee walks toward the wall phone, and it blows up! The coffee machine goes off next and scalds the owner, who runs screaming into a neon sign in a window, zap!, he's done for. Lee walks off into the dark town, and another padre meets him and says "Welcome back to St. Catherines, father."
Now a computer centre where a lone professor is smoking a ciggie, which was not a good thing to do around 70s computers - and he is receiving 'consistent' messages from outer space. One of them says 'Large Earth disruption' but hey, Prof. Andy has to go a party with his wife Sylvia, so we wait. But, on the way to the party, a large earthquake in China is reported on the radio.
Andy traces the signal, he and Sylvia end up wandering around an abandoned zoo, until Cmdr. Beckerman appears to clue them in.
Now we go to a convent which seems completely innocent, and Prof. scans for signals with a special meter, but nothing. They return to the convent at night, and are grabbed by Nuns, who take them to the basement where Lee is, and they fire up a roomful of of high-tech gadgetry.
Beeping FX and theremins, as Lee and the evil nuns zap a padre, with a red ray of some kind. Sub-warp speed is mentioned, and Lee talks to Prof. about velocity-time relationships and interstellar travel. Obviously, the nuns have been replaced by clones, and Lee explains they had to kill them because of a malfunction in negative velocity. Oh gosh now the tech-talk is over my head...time warp... Prof. has developed an 'emergency speed' 200 million KPH, in a small capsule containing zero time reference, using a varience crystal. Which is what Lee and the Nunaliens need in order to escape.
Andy and Syl run away from the convent and flag down a stranger but of course his car blows up before they can get in.
Oh gosh now we learn that the planet Earth is 'emitting diseases' and must be destroyed. Now the nuns start stepping into the variance-crystal projector... and zapping off and away to the home planet, at 200,000,000 kilometers per hour. We see the Earth starting to be destroyed - storms, explosions, and - with nine minutes left in this movie, I have no idea how Andy and Syl are going to save the Earth. Stock storm footage, disasters, nuns have all teleported out and Lee is going last. He turns and monologues, we see his true alien form for a second, he's gone. More volcanos, avalanches, explosions, it's the End o' the World, as advertised, and Andy and Syl have only one chance - step into the teleporter. They do, and minutes later cut to: the Earth, seen from space, aaaand--- Boom.
Finally a movie that delivers what it promises. At least Andy and Syl got away, we don't know for sure. Some very good weird music and sound fx in this one.
 
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Jeffbert

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:ROFLMAO: :lol: Great descriptions, guys!

CinemAbility (2012) A documentary about disabilities & disabled people in films. As a cripple myself, I found it rather interesting and even relevant. Blindness, deafness, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, even mental retardation; though they did not use that term; were covered. Oh, and dwarfism; though again, that term was not used; in fact, one such dwarf likened it to the bad-ol' 'N' word. I thought that was absurd. As far as I am concerned, those older terms are not derogatory. A Little person is a child!

But, because there are very many ways that people can be effed-up, my 2 conditions were not covered. How could they spend so much time on half a dozen conditions, and omit autism & brain injuries? It would have been so easy to include Dr. Strangelove as an example of the latter! The part where his right hand tightens around his throat, and he had to fight it with his left. Just because it was made to be a joke, they might have excluded it. Or Evil Dead II, as an even more extreme example of making fun of it. During my life, my left arm has been my worst enemy, just as the poor guy in that film was attacked by his right hand, which he had to sever, my left arm has been a major antagonist for half my life. I had neurosurgery at age 30, but that was only the beginning.

So-called high functioning autism was not even identified as a valid condition when I was a kid. I was never identified or diagnosed as such, but there is something similar at least to that condition. Whatever it is, there are several components to it, which have made my life even more difficult given that both conditions exist in me. :(


I was in a homeroom of cripples; I know them when I see them. There were 3 with severe cerebral palsy, they drooled all over themselves, could not speak, had virtually no control over arms or legs; at least 2 with muscular dystrophy, 1 skinny, 1 fat; one boy was stubs, neither elbows nor knees; just stubs. One kid on the bus apparently suffered 3rd degree burn all over; he went to some other school.

When I was 1st transferred from the local elementary school, to the one with the special ed home room, they put me on a bus filled with mentally retarded kids. I was 11, 12, at most, & I did not understand why that large boy had that toddler's toy with him. One rotten little twerp named Rosanne, attacked be just about every day, when the pathetic bus aide feebly attempted to escort her past me to her seat farther back. The aide had both fists wrapped around the girl's wrists, but because the brat was struggling, she released her grip allowing her to attack me! I hope that bus aide burns in HELL, I really do! She rebuked me for merely defending myself! I should just sit there, and allow the brat to pound away at me. To hell with that!

So this documentary tried to make the mentally retarded seem like just any other people; f**K that! While some are mildly retarded, Morons, by name; imbeciles and idiots are more like wild animals, at least some of them are! I was on a bus full of them! Each one was taken from right in from of his home and returned there. But not just shoved off the bus; oh no! They waited until mom, or some other responsible person came to take charge of them. How ever long was the wait. When I finally arrived home, my mom wanted to know where I had been, it was nearly dinner time. Worst year of my life!
 
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AlexH

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Prospect (2018)
Good little indie sci-fi film in the vein of Moon and Primer. It falls short of those two, as it lost its way somehow in the final third. Still, Sophie Thatcher, in her film debut, holds the film together. She's one to look out for, as are the directors. I also recognised Pedro Pascal from Game of Thrones.

The Point (1971)
An uplifting animation with great narration from Ringo Starr and wonderful music by Harry Nilsson.

The Hunt (2012)
Shattering Danish thriller about a guy's life that begins to unravel. Sadly says a lot about the increasingly sexualised world children are exposed to.

Burning (2018)
Unusual Korean thriller that I mostly enjoyed but found didn't hit the heights.

My Life as a Courgette (2016)
I enjoyed the stop-motion animation but the film left me feeling a bit meh. Maybe there was too much going on and the makers should've stuck to a theme?
 

Jeffbert

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HOOK (1991) THIS WAS O.K., but I was hardly thrilled.


Riders to the Stars (1954) it was discovered that cosmic rays turned steel and other metals to crumbly garbage. Yet, meteors somehow do not suffer such. But, why? so the old 1930s romantic / comdey star Herbert Marshall is Narrator & Dr. Donald L. Stanton, project director, who intends to use spaceships to capture meteors before they encounter the heat and friction that apparently burn up whatever substance shielded the metal in them from the cosmic rays.

12 men are selected, based upon various qualifications, and recruited without being told what was the mission. Among them, Sidney K. Fuller (James [Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane] Best) washes out, because he lacked patience. Sad, because his appearances in film are much better than in The DoH.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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In response to J Riff and Jeffbert, my old reviews of the films mentioned.

Brides of Blood [1968]

A middle-aged scientist, his man-crazy young wife, and a young Peace Corps guy arrive on Blood Island, a tiny, isolated spot in the Philippines. Right from the start the wife flaunts her attraction to other men right in front of her husband. Things get off to a bad start when they see the inhabitants tossing mangled body parts of young women into the sea. Things get worse when local mutants show up; an odd-shaped crab (weird but not dangerous); a moth that bites the scientist (painful but not deadly, and the movie's funniest scene); and, worst of all, trees with long tentacles that grab people. Things get really bad when they find out that the locals sacrifice two young women each night to a monster (a guy in a rubber suit.) Could this have something to do with the nuclear bomb tests conducted in the area? And with the local guy who puts them up in his mansion, complete with several midget servants? Nicely filmed in color, but not much plot. The mandatory "native dance" sequence comes at the very end, after the monster is destroyed and the romance between the Peace Corps guy and the most beautiful local young woman is in full bloom. The man-chasing wife is played by an actress with the outrageous stage name Beverly Hills.
End of the World (1977)

This cheap, dull, and dreary sci-fi flick actually starts off with a scene which promises something slightly interesting. We see a priest (Christopher Lee), obviously in a state of shock, walk into an all-night diner, deserted except for the proprietor. He haltingly asks to use the phone. The host goes off to make coffee. Next thing you know, the phone blows up and the coffee machine blows up, scalding the owner, who falls through a window, smashes into a neon sign, and gets zapped to death. The priest looks at his corpse, makes the Sign of the Cross over it (!), and wanders back to a convent, where his identical twin greets him.

Well, after this opening we have about an hour of some science guy and his wife (Sue Lyon) wandering around. It seems that signals from outer space are associated with (in some very unclear way) natural disasters around the world. (We hear about these on Plot Point Radio, but don't see them.) It also seems that somebody on Earth is responding to them. Our heroes track down the Earth-based broadcasts to two locations, conveniently located forty miles apart. One of the two is a bizarre red herring, as it turns out to be a secret US base monitoring Soviet broadcasts. (The guy in charge of the place even knows the scientist.) The other is the convent we've already seen.

After a lot of wasted time, we find out that the priest and nuns at the convents have been replaced by aliens who somehow got here and need some kind of gizmo to get home. (There's some lovely Bad Science here, as we hear phrases like "negative velocity malfunction.") Weirdly, the scientist knows where he can get his hands on the exact kind of gizmo the aliens need, and he's forced to help out through threats to his wife.

At the very end we see Lee turn into a typical UFO cult alien. Disasters continue, courtesy of footage stolen from other films. The scientist and his wife are invited to join the aliens as they go back home through their transporter. They do so. The world blows up. The End.

About 75% of this flick is filler, with people talking, standing around, and driving. The oddball opening is maybe 10%, and the unsurprising ending is maybe 15%. It's not worth it.
Riders to the Stars (1954)

Directed by Richard Carlson; written by Curt Siodmak and Ivan Tors.

This old sci-fi movie is an unusual combination of the "documentary" style of SF (Destination Moon) with a soap opera subplot. It also has some bad (but not extremely bad) science, some nifty stock footage, and some really awful special effects. Worthy of some note is the fact that it forms part of an odd trilogy of flicks dealing with the fictional "Office of Scientific Investigation," which also appeared in The Magnetic Monster and Gog.

During the credits, we hear a woman singing the title song (!) in an old-fashioned, torch song kind of way. After this, we see some military and scientific types out in the desert (nice scenes of what I suppose must be Joshua Tree National Park, or someplace similar) recovering a small metal box from a unmanned rocket. All of this science stuff is explained to us in excruciating detail by the narrator, who will turn out to be the leader of the project. Long story short, it turns out that metal exposed to the cosmic rays of outer space are changed in some way that makes them weak and brittle. So much for the space program!

Meanwhile, a super-computer (nostalgic scene of punchcards being fed into a huge machine with blinking lights) is used to select the best possible men (no women considered, apparently) for a secret government project. The list of candidates is whittled down to twelve. Our story will deal mostly with two of them.

The first is some kind of scientist or other. We see some government types offer to take him to California for a couple of weeks for something they can't discuss. I guess all the men on the list were all contacted in this vague way. I'm amazed they got a dozen of them to agree. Anyway, in a ridiculous plot twist, Science Guy (William Lundigan, a manly type known to me as the hero of the mediocre suspense film The House on Telegraph Hill) turns out to be the son of the director of the project! We don't even find this out until after the men have arrived at the abandoned military base in the desert where this project takes place.

The second is a professor of mathematics. (His classroom is shown inside a building bearing the name of Science Hall. I mention this only because I took classes in that very building when I went to the University of Southern California back in the Seventies.) His girlfriend is a model, played by the gorgeous sex symbol Dawn Addams in a tiny role.

(Doing some research, I found this image of Addams wearing what is either the exact same costume she wears in this movie, or one very similar. It's pretty shockingly low-cut for 1954.)

Link

Math Guy (director Carlson) visits Addams on the set of a an automobile ad, which is full of scantily clad lovelies. This whole sequence seems like a math nerd's fantasy. Anyway, he asks her (not for the first time) to marry him, and she says she needs to think about it. This gives him a reason to join the mysterious project to which he has been invited. (The candidates all have to be bachelors.)

Out in the desert, the men are given a very brief introduction to the folks working on the project (including the mandatory beautiful female scientist, played by Martha Hyer, familiar to me from the powerful Spanish shocker Pyro. Despite her blood-red lipstick and fingernails, at least she's played as a competent scientist, although her main role in the film is to fall in love with Science Guy.) They are then told to fill out some forms and wait for a few minutes in a room. A couple of hours later, one of them cracks up and bangs on the locked door, demanding to be let out. It turns out this was their first test, and that guy just flunked.

Further tests reduce the number of candidates to four. The only one we see is the centrifuge test, filmed using the real thing at USC. Science Guy is asked to endure 12 G's and temperatures of about 130 degrees F, while guiding a simulated rocket safely into space and back, and responding to flashing lights with the proper responses. It's a grueling test, and this sequence is actually pretty interesting in a "Mister Wizard" sort of way.

At last, after eight guys have been kicked out, the remaining candidates found out what the project is all about. The plan is to send men into space to grab a small meteor and bring it back to Earth, so the boys (and girl) in the white coats can figure out why cosmic rays don't render space rocks fragile. The director (also known as "Dad" to Science Guy) points out that the USA has to get into space in order to prevent the Reds from putting up a space platform and ruling the world. In an interesting twist, one of the four guys objects to all this Cold War rhetoric, and withdraws from the project. This leaves the two main characters, and another fellow we'll call Cool Guy, who seems to be completely without a trace of anxiety about the project. We have no other back story on this guy, so he has "red shirt" written all over him.

We get a lot more training stuff, making use of some cool stock footage from the very early days of space travel, and some interesting gizmos. At last, the day of the flight arrives. It turns out that each guy will be sent up in a seperate rocket. (Did they have a fourth one for Pacifist Guy? And if you ever wondered where your tax dollar goes, apparently a big chunk of it winds up at the Office of Scientific Investigation.)

At this point I suppose I should add a ****SPOILER**** warning, as I would like to discuss the climax of the film.

The rockets go up, they get "beyond the Earth's gravitational field" (bad science), and they go chasing after space rocks. (This seems like a damn near impossible mission to me.) As expected, Cool Guy runs into a meteor and his ship is destroyed. In a scene I wasn't expecting, Math Guy sees his corpse floating in space, just a mummy/skeleton inside a spacesuit with a cracked helmet. (Apparently exposure to vacuum and/or cosmic rays dried him out.) This is enough to drive Math Guy over the edge. He unties the straps holding him in his seat (pretty decent weightless effects here, as well as some cool black spacesuits) and wildly fires off his jets, sending him off into space forever. I'll give the film a few points for surprising me with the loss of this character. Of course, Science Guy winds up grabbing a rock and returns to Earth safely to Dad and Girlfriend. (It turns out that meteors don't break up when exposed to cosmic rays because they are coated with "crystal carbon." I guess NASA is going to have to coat its vehicles with diamond.)

Riders to the Stars varies a lot from slow and boring, to silly and corny, to genuinely interesting. Its sober tone and apparent respect for scientists and the work they do is a refreshing change of pace from most old sci-fi flicks. It's not that good, and not bad enough to be worth making fun of, but worth a look for SF and/or space buffs.

EDITED to add some of the lyrics to the theme song. Imagine this sung in a slow, languid way by a female crooner.

Riders to the stars
That is what we are
Every time we kiss in the night
Jupiter and Mars
Aren't very far
Any time you're holding me tight
Your embrace
Changed time and place
Hurled in space
Are we
 

Nozzle Velocity

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Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
168
Location
Dallas, TX, USA
Battle In Outer Space (Japan 1959)

Aliens based on the moon are causing destruction and chaos with their their atom-freezing ray, so the U.N. launches two rockets with Japanese-American crews to find and destroy the menace. Good fun in this early Ishiro Honda film. It's sort of a wilder and more colorful version of Destination Moon. I love the fly-by-wire effects of the Japanese films of the 50s and 60s when it involves rockets and spacecraft instead of kaiju. It's looks a lot like the Lydecker Bros work in Hollywood in the 30s.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
1,415
Brides of Blood [1968]
... The man-chasing wife is played by an actress with the outrageous stage name Beverly Hills.
Out of curiosity I went to IMDB for this and noted that Beverly Hills later became Beverly Powers. If IMDB is accurate, she had a long career including appearances in three Elvis movies, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, Mod Squad and Fantasy Island among others, but may be best known as the swimmer in the opening scene of Jaws.

This kind of trivia (with the caveat, if true) about old movies and the weird circles the crew moved in, the odd things actors appeared in, actors who never made it big but somehow seemed to make a living and show up in numerous films and TV shows. Like James Best, mentioned earlier, who I remember better as a young actor with a fair charisma and energy in Twilight Zone and at least one old Western rather than as the sheriff in Dukes of Hazzard, or Richard Carlson who started out in supporting roles in some quality studio movies then became horror film royalty, usually as the hero.

About the Office of Scientific Investigation: A year or so ago I watched The Magnetic Monster largely because it starred Carlson and King Donovan. It was a trudge but I got caught up in its clunky, faux-Dragnet awfulness. I think I only realized near the end that Ivan Tors had something to do with it, which might have tipped me off earlier. Clunky scripts and dialog were a specialty of his productions.

Riders to the stars
That is what we are
Every time we kiss in the night
Jupiter and Mars
Aren't very far
Any time you're holding me tight
Your embrace
Changed time and place
Hurled in space
Are we
Yuck?

Excuse me. Kind of triggered my gag reflex.


Randy M.
 
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