Road Trip – Rediscovering ‘The Last Detail’ (US 1973 – 105 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 30, 2017

A funny and sometimes touching movie; the naval comedy-drama ‘The Last Detail’ took a while to get noticed, but has since become an endearing favourite for many, and features one of Jack Nicholson’s greatest performances. Released in a year of crowd-pleasers such as ‘The Sting’, ‘American Graffiti’ and ‘Paper Moon’, it stood alone as a gritty and bleak-looking character piece. Sadly, to this day it still remains a somewhat forgotten picture.

Navy officers, Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Richard “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are tasked with bringing a young offender (Randy Quaid) to a naval prison in New Hampshire, for …

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Sometimes a Great Actor – Remembering Richard Jaeckel (1926 – 1997)

Remember ‐ April 17, 2017

A favourite of Robert Aldrich, the short, blond and stocky Richard Jaeckel seemed to spend most of his long screen career carrying a gun. He played in many westerns and war movies, and even though he sometimes disappeared into the background, his tough-guy persona was always a welcome presence, even in the most trashy of pictures.

Born in New York on October 10th 1926, Jaeckel was discovered while working at 20th Century-Fox as a mailboy. After debuting in the 1943 war flick ‘Guadalcanal Diary’, Richard’s first role of note came in the powerful John Wayne picture ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ …

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Electrickery! – Rediscovering ‘House of Mystery’ (UK 1961 – 54 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 02, 2017

I remember catching the eerie little chiller ‘House of Mystery’ many years ago on television, and being very creeped out by it by the very end. With a short running time that crams in a lot of plot and a few surprises, it’s a memorable addition to the ‘cosy old house at a bargain price’ genre.

After finding the home of their dreams in the country, a pair of newlyweds (Ronald Hines and Colette Wilde) are told by the mysterious housekeeper, stories of haunting’s and tragedy that occurred to the home’s previous owners.

While it’s a rather talky supernatural tale, ‘House …

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Fatal Distraction – Rediscovering ‘Craving Desire’ (Italy 1993 – 97 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 19, 2017

A trashy but enjoyable psychological thriller from Italy; ‘Craving Desire’ is a twisty tale of infatuation, jealousy and murder, notable for featuring an impressive turn by its lovely female star; Vittoria Belvedere.

After the unexpected arrival of his beautiful cousin Sonia, young Luigi’s personal and professional life is rapidly turned upside down, after an intimate relationship begins between the two. Cancelling his engagement, Sonia assures Luigi that they are not blood relatives due to infidelity in their family. But Sonia appears to have a dangerous side too, and soon both she and Luigi are engaging in evermore daring adventures, including a …

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The Bodyguard – Rediscovering ‘Sara’ (Poland 1997 – 107 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 12, 2017

A wonderful discovery from Poland, the compelling and exciting crime drama ‘Sara’ shares quite a few similarities with Luc Besson’s hugely popular 1994 hit ‘The Professional’ (both hit-men are called Leon, and both have tragic backstories). But while ‘Sara’ may be far less stylish, it does have more realism to it, and like ‘Leon’, superb performances from its two lead characters.

When a powerful crime lord is set upon by his cold-blooded enemies, he hires alcoholic ex-commando; Leon (Boguslaw Linda), to protect his beautiful 16 year old daughter Sara (Agnieszka Wlodarczyk). Despite being much older, the rebellious but professional Leon soon …

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The Fugitive Kind – Rediscovering ‘Aloha, Bobby and Rose’ (US 1975 – 88 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 04, 2017

A minor cult hit from the exciting 70’s; ‘Aloha, Bobby and Rose’ is one of those pictures that regularly surprises, with a storyline that veers off into different directions, culminating in a tense and rather downbeat ending.

Soon after they start dating, mechanic Bobby (Paul Le Mat) and single mother Rose (Dianne Hull) are enjoying a night out on the town. While at a liquor store, Bobby does a fake “stick up” as a prank to amuse Rose. Tragically, this backfires when the young cashier is accidentally shot and killed by the store’s owner, leaving Bobby and Rose running from the …

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“That Red-Headed Girl” – Peggy Shannon (1907 – 1941)

Rewind ‐ February 27, 2017

Beautiful red-head Peggy Shannon showed a fair amount of talent and appeal in her 10 year movie career. But sadly her personal problems and a serious battle with the bottle, would bring a halt to that career, and ultimately her life.

Born Winona Sammon on January 10th 1907, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Peggy Shannon was discovered at 16 by producer Flo Ziegfeld who hired her as a chorus girl in The Ziegfeld Follies. After a stint on Broadway, Peggy signed a contract with Paramount in 1931, and was touted as the new Clara Bow. Her first movie was ‘The Secret …

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Sleeping with the Enemy – Rediscovering ‘5 Branded Women’ (US/Italy 1960 – 94 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 26, 2017

The grim yet rewarding WW2 drama ‘5 Branded Women’ is one of those hard-to-find gems that’s been criminally forgotten for decades. Liked by the public more so than the critics, it has rightly garnered something of a minor following among film buffs.

Five peasant women are thrown out of their Yugoslavian village for cavorting with a German officer. With their heads shaved and branded traitors, they band together to fight the Nazis, before joining a band of guerrillas where they ultimately find love and loss in equal measures.

Known in Europe as ‘Jovanka and the Others’, what I liked here is that …

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Dark Houses & Dangerous Dogs – Rediscovering ‘After Midnight’ (US 1989 – 90 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 30, 2016

A watchable horror compendium that actually contains decent segments within a fairly strong wrap-around story, ‘After Midnight’ was much better than I expected. Coupled with a creepy atmosphere and a cast that took it mostly seriously, it’s a fun addition to the long tradition of anthology horror.

When eccentric psychology tutor Edward Derek (Ramy Zada) humiliates one of his students during class, the vengeful jock seeks revenge one stormy night while Derek and some of his students are telling each other tales on the subject of “fear”.

The three tales told are actually pretty good, with no really weak story among …

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The Odd Couple – Rediscovering ‘Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone’ (US 1950 – 69 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 24, 2016

A delightful and obscure little movie; ‘Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone’ is another of those ‘murder-on-a-train’ mysteries that proved very popular with post-war audiences looking for some easy-going escapism.

When Steve Kepplar (Douglas Fowley), a runaway client of lecherous lawyer J.J Malone (James Whitmore) is murdered on a crowded Chicago-bound train, Malone soon finds himself the chief suspect. After pairing up with sharp-tongued widow Mrs O’Malley (Marjorie Main), this newly-bonded odd couple frantically search the corridors and carriages for the killer, before the law can unfairly nail Malone for the crime.

Based on the short story “Once Upon a Train (The Loco …

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