A life well lived

When planning our Roundtables, we try to mix things up and not have two similar types or topics too close together. Ordinarily, then, we wouldn’t have Roundtables focused on an individual back-to-back. However, when the news broke in June of this year of the passing of Christopher Lee, there was immediate agreement that the next Roundtable should be a tribute.

Descended from the Emperor Charlemagne, and a veteran of WWII, Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ was a linguist, an opera singer, a heavy metal rocker, a folk singer, and a voice artist. His acting career lasted sixty-eight years, from a bit part in 1947’s Corridor Of Mirrors and an appearance as a literal spear-carrier in Olivier’s production of Hamlet, to a most appropriate final role, playing “the boss of the universe”, in the not-yet-released Angels In Notting Hill.

In between there were, of course, some ups and downs…

Chris Lee himself may have had something of a love-hate relationship with his genre films, but there’s no disputing the man’s legacy. He was Dracula…and Frankenstein’s Creature, and the Mummy. He was Rasputin. He was the Duc de Richleau. He was Scaramanga. He was Lord Summerisle. He was Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes. He was Saruman. And yes…he was mod Dracula…and Jess Franco’s Fu Manchu…and he had the silliest character name in all the George Lucas universe…and he wore those damn sunglasses…

It was, in other words, a full, rich tapestry. Please join us throughout August as we celebrate it in all its diversity.

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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    Subpar spaghetti sequel. Sigh.

    Return Of Shanghai JoeYou may find it hard to believe that I found a spaghetti western that I didn’t like, but that’s the case with Return Of Shanghai Joe, a sequel that has none of the fun of the original movie.

    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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      Mick Fanning: Australia’s answer to Franco Nero

      When our very own Keith Allison reviewed Enzo Castellari’s Shark Hunter, he offered the following summation of the film’s opening sequence:

      We meet the titular shark hunter, Franco Nero, looking like he just stumbled out of the jungle and fell into a puddle of crazed hippie biker, while perched on a rock overlooking the ocean. Suddenly a shark catches his eye, causing him to leap up, run down the beach while accompanied by the sounds of Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis prog rock, and struggle to haul the thrashing beast to shore. He then retires to his open air beach bungalow to make love to his beautiful Mexican senorita, then goes to a bar where he beats the crap out of half a dozen thugs. Happy that Franco has whooped ass on the goon squad, a local takes him out for a bit of parasailing. I know, I know. You’re thinking to yourself that while hauling in a fishing line hooked to a man-eating shark is tough, and making love on the beach to a sexy gal is tough, and beating up half a dozen hired bruisers is tough, there’s not much that’s tough about parasailing. That’s what sunburned fat Americans do when they visit resorts, right? What’s so tough about that? Well, nothing. But while Franco does admittedly get a kick out of the parasailing, what makes this tough parasailing is that, while in mid-air, he spies a shark in the water below, let’s out a primal whoop of excitement, cuts himself loose from the parachute harness, plunges into the water, and immediately starts punching the shark in the face…

      …a description that provoked some of our more cynical blog-visitors into accusing Keith of making that up.

      Well, you know that old line about truth and fiction; and so it turns out that Franco Nero isn’t the only person out there who likes punching sharks…

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      But while about half of the inevitable meme-response to the incident was devoted to portraying Mick Fanning as an EXTREEEEME action hero, it turned out that, much to my delight, the other half was busy portraying the shark as a victim of a (more or less) unprovoked assault:

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      And while the urge to argue with any and all comers over the fact that this was NOT (i) a shark attack, or (ii) a giant shark, is almost overwhelming, at the end of the day I accept that what I really need to do is put all of my energies into being very, very, very, very, very, very, very thankful that we didn’t get—a different kind of encounter—being broadcast all around the world on live television…and not just for the shark’s sake. (I haven’t forgotten Mick Fanning, honest!)

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      Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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        Glad that educational footage was in black and white

        Because Of EveSeen today, the sex education slash exploitation movie Because Of Eve is filled with moments that will make you laugh… when the movie doesn’t try to turn your stomach.

        Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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          Singing cowboys vs SCIENCE!! (Part 2)

          TPE35-vicious1b

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          THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (1935)

          …in which the ancient civilisation of Murania is destroyed, and its technological secrets and scientific wonders lost forever.

          Not to worry, though—Gene Autry makes it back to Radio Ranch in time for his two o’clock broadcast, and that’s all that really matters…

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          Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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            Good old old school special effects

            GargoylesThe made-for-television movie Gargoyles is watchable, but at the same time you’ll see potential that was not quite realized.

            Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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              Singing cowboys vs SCIENCE!! (Part 1)

              Ya snooze, ya lose.

              For ages I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a look at some of the serials of the 30s and 40s…and while toying was was still as far as I’d gotten, Ken nicked in with his hilarious take on The Green Archer for our Edgar Wallace Roundtable.

              Ah, well…

              Plenty of early serials called themselves “science fiction”, but a closer look reveals that they were rather action-adventure stories built around the struggle for possession of a “scientific” doo-hickey like a death-ray or a new poison gas, or the repeated kidnapping and rescue of a scientist with a “formula” (who usually spent all his onscreen time protesting that he only intended his death-ray / poison gas to be used for peaceful purposes).

              However, they got there eventually…even if the definition of “science” remained just a trifle flexible…

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              THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (1935)

              …in which a lost civilisation located many thousands of feet below the surface of the earth finds its secrets under threat from a trio of unscrupulous scientists seeking to make their fortunes by locating the rich radium deposits which fuel the civilisation’s many marvellous scientific advances.

              None of which is nearly so important as that fact that if a singing cowboy doesn’t perform at exactly two o’clock each day, he will break his radio contract, and he and his partner will lose their ranch…

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              Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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                A Descent into Madness

                coverAs has become par for the course, I am running behind on the John Carradine roundtable. For that matter, I’ve written very few film reviews at all lately. In a rare turn of events, it’s not just because I am being lazy. I am, surprise, writing a book. Titled AT THE MATINEE OF MADNESS and originally meant to be a compilation of popular Teleport City articles, it has since become substantially more, containing maybe 60% new material, 40% revised and reorganized Teleport City material.

                I am hoping the damn thing will be done by the first week of July (I also hoped it would be done by the end of February, so…). As a thanks to those who follow the exploits of TC through the B-Masters Cabal, and for my fellow B-Masters themselves, I do have a little gift to tide folks over until the finished beast rolls off the presses (or gets uploaded in ebook form). The links below are for an ebook preview of the first chapter (which is about Louis Feuillade, Fantomas, and Les Vampires) in epub and mobi format. This is an unproofed next-to-final draft, so you might run across some mistakes and formatting foibles. The finished product might not be exactly the same. But it gets us in the ballpark.

                Thanks to everyone. TC would not have stumbled to this point if it wasn’t for the support of folks willing to indulge my meandering reflections.

                NOTE: You may get a prompt to join dropbox if you don’t already have an account. You can just click off of that alert and download the file without an account.

                Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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                  Not strong enough

                  Black SamsonDespite a few bright spots, Black Samson ends up being a lesser entry in the blaxploitation genre.

                  Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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                    Right on target

                    The Professional: Golgo 13The assassin in the anime feature film The Professional: Golgo 13 hits you with his best shot.

                    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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