A Good Night’s Sleep

VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS

valDespite intense social and political messages, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is not a grim, oppressive movie. It is not about defeat, but triumph. The film’s final scene, in which nearly every version of every character parades through the village streets and Valerie finally gets some rest, is in a way a premonition of the jubilant Velvet Revolution that would remove the Soviet yoke once and for all some nineteen years later. It is a testament to the determination of the Czech people to be true to their own character no matter the attempts to force upon them some external system of behavior fundamentally at odds with their own — a character perhaps best summarized by how all of this political symbolism passed by resurgent Soviet dominance without being caught. Overarching it all is Valerie‘s ability to remain steadfastly optimistic, hopeful, and curious despite all the attempts to control her, subjugate her, or own her. It is the story of whimsy’s triumph over the grim, of liberation’s victory over oppression.

Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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    Seventh rate

    Journey To The Seventh PlanetWhile Journey To The Seventh Planet may involve astronauts encountering an alien on Uranus, there is no real life to be found in the movie itself.

    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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      Corridors of blah

      chrisbanner1

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      CORRIDORS OF BLOOD (1958)

      …in which a Victorian doctor self-experiments in order to develop an inhalable anaesthetic that will render surgery painless, and it all goes ‘orribly wrong…

      Unable to make up its mind whether it wants to be a horror movie or a medical drama, Corridors Of Blood finally fails at both despite the efforts of an excellent cast headed by Boris Karloff, and with Christopher Lee in an important early role.

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


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        Name Your Poison

        chrisbanner1

        First, the review: THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE

        Second, this:

        17Teleport City’s relationship with Sir Christopher Lee, about which he never knew a thing, goes back almost to the very founding of this site. Where would have been in those early days without Dracula or Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, which though they have since been rewritten and re-dated, represent some of the earliest reviews posted to this site. We have, on occasion, made light of the career and attitude (particularly toward Hammer and Dracula) of venerated horror film icon Sir Christopher Lee, but never with malice. I hope, at least, that came across. Lee was and forever will remain one of the giants of cinema, a man whose dedication to his chosen profession I much admire and whose life is one the likes of which I could only imagine in my wildest dreams. A commando; a key field agent in the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare; a man who stood atop a high tower in the Vatican as the Nazis and Fascists were chased from Rome; a man of great culture and passion and, despite the way he might have at times across, humor.

        Lee’s biggest anxiety in life seemed to be that he would only be remembered as Dracula. And when it came time to write his obituary, just about every newspaper, magazine, and website ran with a “Dracula has died” style headline, though many also mentioned his role as a wizard and whatever he was in that Star Wars movie I can’t remember anything about. Ah well, it seems in the end he made peace with Dracula, if not with Hammer, and there are worse things to be remembered for than inhabiting an iconic role, however frustrating it might have been in life when applying for other jobs. We’re not here to talk about Dracula, though, because we’ve already written about all of his Hammer Dracula films and are not yet prepared to write about his role in Jess Franco’s Dracula.

        One of the things I most admired about Sir Christopher was his willingness to accept any role and then to deliver nothing less than a competent performance. In other words, his willingness to be a working actor, and to handle even the least of his movies with the same dedication he brought to the best. This resulted in a vast and varied filmography. While not all the movies were of a quality befitting what Lee brought to them, in looking back it’s much more fun I think to have hundreds of really strange roles. And so it is some of his more varied roles we gather here to celebrate, for this is surely a celebration. When a man lives into his nineties, there is in my opinion little reason to mourn and many, many reasons to celebrate. If from time to time we poked him in the ribs regarding his cranky comments about Dracula or his inability to avoid mentioning he was related to Charlemagne, it was done out of the deepest fondness for a man whose accomplishments I could never hope to match and will always admire. He may be gone now, but we, all of us, still walk in his shadow.

        Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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          Those Italians sure don’t cop out

          Live Like A Cop, Die Like A ManThe Ruggero Deodato movie Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man is an uneven but all the same interesting example of the poliziotteschi genre.

          Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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            When Chris met Peter…

            chrisbanner1

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            THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

            …in which a certain aristocrat decides to dabble in science…

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            A work of great importance however you look at it—for revitalising the horror film, for its breakthrough use of colour, for pushing the boundaries of censorship, for turning Hammer Studios from a struggling wannabe into a brand name…

            …and for introducing Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

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                            “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…”

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


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              Feeble family film

              Indian PaintCrown International Pictures and family entertainment may seem to be two things that don’t belong together, but with the movie Indian Paint, it happened at least once.

              Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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                The vacancy is in the filmmakers’ brains

                chrisbanner
                The Rosebud Beach HotelThe late Christopher Lee made a name for himself in horror movies, but he acted in a number of other movie genres during his career. He even did some comedies, The Rosebud Beach Hotel being one such film.

                Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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                  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.

                  chrisbanner

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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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