#352 Dark of the Sun

Watched: January 9 2023

Director: Jack Cardiff

Starring: Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Brown, Peter Carsten, Kenneth More, André Morell

Year: 1968

Runtime: 1h 40min

In war-torn Congo, Captain Curry and his trusted partner in crime Ruffo take on a dangerous new mission: to travel through areas of civil and military unrest to retrieve a bunch of diamonds for the new president. And what does a mission of this magnitude need? A crack team! And a mid-sized military squadron. Or battalion. Brigade? Division? Regiment? We’re not down with the lingo – we never joined the army despite our sharp wits and even sharper bayonets (a weapon much favoured among modern military forces, we’re sure). Anyway – Mercenaries Assemble!

“You know I’ll only go if there’s a guarantee that I can shoot stuff with a big-ass gun from a vehicle that’s on fire, right?” “Guaranteed!” “You son of a bitch, I’m in!”

Their band of mercenaries (and one nazi) ready themselves for the adventure of a lifetime! Well, not technically a lifetime seeing as how they’re all soldiers who have been fighting in Congo for a while. More like they ready themselves for another day’s work. Either way, ready they are and off they go!

And you thought we meant nazi in the figurative way…

Along the way they run into flying attacks, a damsel in distress (who was coming along anyway, but still), child murder, chainsaw fights, inconvenient time locks, Simbas, child birth, nuns and train delays. There’s also love and betrayal, and surprisingly emotional deaths.

And, of course, a sprinkle of romance between the (anti-)hero and the only female character

Dark of the Sun (a.k.a. The Mercenaries, a.k.a. Planes, Trains and Armored Jeeps, a.k.a. Bromance – The Movie) is exciting, emotional, violent and very, very good, and we absolutely loved it! Curry might be in a gray area morally, but he firmly places himself on the right side of history, calling out racists and literal nazis throughout the movie. Also, can we talk about Curry and Ruffo? Now that is a friendship for the ages! The whole romantic thing with Claire means nothing in comparison – Curry and Ruffo is the real romance here. Also, that final fight between Curry and Nazi-boy felt incredibly brutal and real. Overall, two very enthusiastic thumbs up from Norway!

“You know she’s just a beard, right..?”

What we learned: Diamonds are a man’s worst enemy. Also, don’t bring a nazi on your mission. Or anywhere really.

Next time: Head (1968)

#351 Danger: Diabolik

Watched: January 5 2023

Director: Mario Bava

Starring: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora, Terry-Thomas, Mario Donen

Year: 1968

Runtime: 1h 45min

Diabolik: a criminal mastermind! Think 1960s Batman villain/dark James Bond. He has a suave underground lair, fast cars and even faster dames, revealing showers, infinite tricks up his (immaculately tailored) sleeves, and a lust for adventure and danger surpassing even Rick O’Connell. He also has A Dame of His Own; Eva – a trusted sidekick and confidant as well as Secret-Lover-in-the-Night-Time (or really any time, it seems). Like her man, the Dame has expensive taste and her only wish for her birthday is an emerald necklace owned by a powerful politician’s wife. Cue heist!

“I think, for this heist, I shall wear my BLACK leather daddy mask.”
“No! Wait! This calls for my sad beige mask for sad beige röbberies!”

Now, being a Criminal Mastermind, Diabolik has managed to piss off both law inforcement, represented by inspector Ginko, and a mafia-like crime syndicate, led by the ruthless Valmont. They’re both after his hide, and throughout the movie our anti-hero and Eva must thwart their plots and avoid capture, traps and certain death.

Not to mention avoid papercuts in unmentionable places

Danger: Diabolik is the epitome of the 1960s in our minds (of course, as we are very young and nubile, we didn’t experience the decade ourselves); it’s colourful, cool, sexy and sleek. At first, Diabolik himself was presented like a clear hero – his first heist was immaculately planned with no loss of life. However, as the film progressed, he started killing people left, right and centre. Still, he is much more humane with more of a moral compass than say crime boss Valmont, and we loved how we ende up rooting for both Diabolik and Inspector Ginko. Diabolik and Eva seem very much in love and in a surprisingly healthy relationship. You know, apart from the crime of it all.

And the aforementioned papercuts.

We loved the art/graphics of this, the fact that we learn nothing about the backstory of this gentleman criminal (we guess there might be more meat on that bone in the original comic, but we enjoyed the mystery of it all), the Morricone score and the drama queen that is Diabolik himself. It’s a funny, cool, stylish and thoroughly entertaining watch, and we recommend it to basically everyone. Enjoy!

“I told you this would happen, Diabolik! Look at this! Pick me up some ointment on the way home..?”

What we learned: Clearly, there’s a universe out there where cars and guns come cheap, but fabric for women’s clothing is out of everyone’s price range. Also, it is impossible NOT to pronounce Diabolik as “diabolique.”

Next time: Dark of the Sun (1968)

#350 Coogan’s Bluff

Watched: August 20 2022

Director: Don Siegel

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee J. Cobb, Susan Clark, Tisha Sterling, Don Stroud, Betty Field, Tom Tully

Year: 1968

Runtime: 1h 33min

Coogan, a sheriff’s deputy in Arizona, is sent to New York City to pick up a prisoner and bring him back for trial. Easy enough you might think. But you’d be wrong. The prisoner, James Ringerman, is not so much in jail as he is in Bellevue after a bad LSD trip. In order to get him back, Coogan has to follow loads of rules, regulations and procedures. Coogan is not a fan of rules and regulations. Or procedures. So he bluffs to get Ringerman out of Bellevue. Hence the title purloined from an actual location in NYC. See what they did there?

Sure, I’m a stoic and sassy bad ass alpha male, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good wordplay. What, a man can’t have layers?

Unfortunately, Ringerman escapes and neither NYPD Lt. McElroy nor Sheriff McCrea is very impressed by Coogan’s shenanigans so they both command him off the case. However, Coogan is not a fan of commands either, so he promptly ignores them and decides to hunt down his escaped prisoner.

You can’t touch this – dun dun-dun-dun dun dun

Along the way, he runs into the weirdest female character – Julie Roth. She’s some sort of psychoanalyst/social worker/parole officer working with young women on probation, and her fetish is being taken advantage of and objectified by men. Perfect for Coogan who is all about the objectification of women. Sometimes fate just intervenes and brings people together.

For the rest of the movie Coogan runs around NYC getting into brawls and beds in his hunt for Ringerman. He quips and sasses, and participates in quite a cool motorcycle chase. But will he catch his prey?

…or will he just catch STDs?

Ok, the action is cool and we loved the swinging 60s party, but the protagonist and the “love story” seem incredibly dated. Coogan, though kind of hilarious at times and undeniably intelligent and charming, is a cocky and chauvinistic asshole with absolutely no regard for anyone else. Which we guess is sort of the point; the conservative (in some ways) country boy vs. the liberal city values. And while it probably works as intended, it’s kind of Toxic Masculinity: The Movie. Also, Julie needs some serious therapy for falling for his crap. Actually, they both need therapy, but she seems more likely to seek it out. He has no reason to, as society keeps rewarding him for his assholey behaviour and talking about your feelings is probably for city sissies anyway.

“I can fix you!”

Coogan’s Bluff is interesting as a double feature with Bullitt; the contrast between the two protagonists (who in many ways are very similar) only underlines what a bitch Coogan is. Still a fun watch though – the bar brawl is legendary. And sure, we get how a young Clint Eastwood might blind a young psychologist to anything but the D, but come on Julie! He is never going to meet your emotional needs. Just bang him and get it out of your system. If you need a strong, silent type with a clear sense of right and wrong who still doesn’t mind breaking a few rules to bring criminals to justice, and who is comfortable being in a relationship with an educated, professional woman, look no further than Lt. Bullitt.

What we learned: Sometimes the hot bastard is just a hot bastard – don’t waste your time searching for that hidden heart of gold and ascribing characteristics to them that they just don’t possess.

Next time: Danger: Diabolik (1968)

#349 Bullitt

Watched: August 20 2022

Director: Peter Yates

Starring: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland, Georg Stanford Brown

Year: 1968

Runtime: 1h 54min

Happy New Year guys. It’s been a minute. For reasons. But like us, Edgar has been busy editing the list and adding lots of new titles! Loads of juicy bits for us to bite into. Yummy! Thus, we shall once again pick up the mantle of chronicling our odyssey through the list (provided we don’t get too distracted by side quests again). Allons-y!

That tagline tho. Is the Sunday Mirror impressed? Awed? Just informative? How far back can they recall? The public needs to know!

We’ll pick up (sort of) where we left off, with Peter Yates’ Bullitt (although it has jumped from #305 to #349. Which means that while you may have thought we took a year’s hiatus, we actually managed to do 44 films. In a strange, but also very real, way. For an explanation of how we deal with numbering, read here).
In San Francisco, Lt. Frank Bullitt is tasked with keeping star witness and former mobster Johnny Ross safe for the next 40 hours, until he is scheduled to testify in a hearing which is supes important, for a dodgy politician named Chalmers. It’s a whole thing.

“You see, the trick behind a successful political career is to really accentuate your chin in conversation. Like this. Try sticking your jaw out a bit more when speaking and you’ll find that people will soon see you in a completely different light!”

Bullitt and his men fail miserably and Ross is shot on the first night. He survives for a bit in hospital, but when he finally bites the dust Bullitt teams up with his surgeon to hide the body for a bit so that he can keep investigating the murder. With both Chalmers and Captain Bennett putting the pressure on him, our hero must solve the mystery and complete his investigation while he avoids being murdered and stuff.

“I’m off to avoid being murdered. And stuff.” (Possibly actual quote)

Bullitt is a violent action thriller, and the violence comes in short, quick increments, making it all the more effective. It also has an iconic car chase (some might even say it “surpasses any within recall”) in the hilly streets of San Francisco (where both the good guy and the bad guys are inexplicably outrun by an unassuming green beetle on several occasions), and a climactic foot chase in an airport to round it all off. Steve McQueen, a personal favourite of Sister the Youngest, is perfect in the title role. Very much the strong, silent type, his intensity makes him believable as a cop who will stand up to his superiors and do what’s right.

Seriously – the beetle keeps popping up everytime they’ve rounded a corner. It might be a Tardis.

We loved McQueen’s cardigan game (cardigame?), the very ’60s soundtrack, the nurses’ headgear (how did anyone ever think that was practical?), Eddy’s entire look (choices!), the African American surgeon (progressive for the time? Or do we only think it is because things are still so shitty in the world? God, that’s a very depressing thought, isn’t it..?) the chases, the murders, the mystery and the mayhem. And Steve McQueen’s absolute coolness. That man really knew how to work the silences.

Don’t be fooled by the cardi I’ve got, I’m still, I’m still gonna shoot you in the face ’cause I’m a bad motherfucker

What we learned: You work your side of the street and I’ll work mine.

Next time: Coogan’s Bluff (1968)

#304 2001: A Space Odyssey

Watched: January 12 2022 during our first ever 1000 Films Blog Movie Night

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Douglas Rain, Frank Miller

Year: 1968

Runtime: 2h 29min

Ok, let’s face it, we cannot possibly hope to say anything new and interesting about one of the world’s most celebrated pieces of cinema – Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. So we’re not even going to try, but we will give a brief summary of the plot for the three readers who have never seen the movie.

Meet Ralph
Ralph might be seeing red, but in fact he is very happy today
You know why? Ralph just landed his dream job! He is going to be an astronaut!
With his trusty sidekicks D’raak and Susan, Ralph will travel the universe looking for The Lost Oyster Pearl of Quan-exa’peh
Along the way, the intrepid trio will stumble onto many a curious adventure, such as beekeeping on Jupiter and fighting the dream-giraffes of Sckraaaaaaaa. They also find themselves in an award-winning heavy metal band supporting a world class primate drummer.
At one point they even get lost in the Windows Media Player. Classic Ralph!
But will he eventually wake up to find that it was all just a dream..? Only one way to find out! Get yourself a copy of 2001: The Space Odyssey of Ralph, D’raak and Susan – out on LaserDisc now!
There are so many reasons why this film has become such a classic – foremost of which is Kubrick’s decision to film everything with the camera lying on its side. Amazing.

What we learned: In space, no one can hear you have an existential crisis.

Next time: Barbarella (1968)

#303 Weekend

Watched: January 30 2021 …and then again on January 3 2022 since we’d forgotten the experience.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Starring: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, and a whole bunch of other people

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 45min

Source

How can we describe Weekend? It’s definitely a film you should experience for yourself, but we’ll take a shot at describing the plot.

Basically, it’s sort of like this, but with long tracking shots, musical interludes and political speeches.

Roland (Yanne) and Corinne (Darc) are planning to kill her parents for the inheritance, as one does. Then, he plots to off her for the same reason, since he has another girl waiting in the wings. Lovely couple, very nice.

You won’t BELIEVE how they ended up in this state! Read on for all the gruesome details!

After describing a sexual encounter in detail (though without any emotion), as we all always do with your partners, Corinne gets in the car with Roland and off they go a-killing. They soon run into major traffic, as well as an impressive and very long shot of them passing said traffic in the wrong lane. With honking. Lots of honking. And some dead bodies casually strewn around.

♫ We’re all going on a – murder holiday ♬♪

Eventually the two crash their car (it was inevitable, really) and go on foot instead, running into historical and fictional characters, cannibals, and rapists. You know, the sort of people who tend to hang out in your local woods.

Sadly, when we went lurking about in the woods in our feather boas and fancy medallions, we learned that our local cannibalistic forest-lurkers lacked this kind of flair. Very disappointed. And just a little bit scared.

Somehow it all works, thanks to Godard’s genius. In a way, we feel as though it’s designed to stress you out. It’s a commentary on consumerism, classicism, racism, egotism and general shittyness. You kind of have to see it to believe it, and while Weekend doesn’t seem to be streaming anywhere, a good library will probably have a copy. This is why we love physical media and public libraries.

Hear ye, hear ye: get thee to a library and fetch thee an obscure DVD.

Weekend is funny and silly and brutal and disturbing, but most of all it’s fascinating. Sure, it’s not a movie everyone will love, but we enjoyed this roadtrip from Hell quite a lot, even though we didn’t quite understand the world we were thrown into. To be fair, we feel that way just waking up in the morning, so it might be us…

Sometimes, you just feel like a lonely drummer by a lake, you know?

What we learned: We’re going to need diagrams of the sex scene Corinne describes. How did that work physically?? If anyone can do a powerpoint presentation, an illustration, a demonstration or something of the mechanicals of it, please let us know.

Next time: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

#302 Two for the Road

Watched: December 21 2021

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Georges Descrières, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 51min

Source

Joanna and Mark Wallace (Hepburn and Finney, respectively), a disillusioned and sniping couple, are going on a road trip to St. Tropez. The story of their 12 year relationship is told through flashbacks juxtaposed with more current events as we examine how they ended up in their current, seemingly loveless, marriage.

As our mama always said: make sure the cute girl you meet while hitchhiking through continental Europe and then decide to marry, isn’t a bug-eyed alien in disguise. Those marriages never work out. Well, maybe once or twice.

Travel permeates their relationship – at least most critical events appear to have happened while they’re on the road. They met in Europe and fell in love while hitchhiking together, and from there on out most developments occur on other trips they take, alone or together.

Our favourite might be their ridiculous road trip with Mark’s ex Cathy (Bron), her overbearing husband Howard (Daniels) and their obnoxious and unruly daughter Ruthie (not her fault – her parents are useless). The fact that Joanna and Mark have kids after this is mindblowing.

“So, according to this, it’s too late for an abortion when the child is already walking and talking.” “You sure? There’s no small print..?”

We’re in two minds about this movie. We love the non-linear storytelling and the wardrobe, but the relationship doesn’t quite work for us. Audrey Hepburn is lovely as Joanna, but frankly we’re not sold on Albert Finney in this, and we don’t quite see their chemistry.

Might be us though – there’s a chance we’re blinded by the wardrobe

At times it seems as though they’re going for the loving bickering of Nick and Nora, but while she is charming enough, he often comes across as a douche. Why on earth would they get married? They’re a perfect example of how squabbling and negging does NOT a cute couple make.

Just keep on walking, girl. Never mind the chafing from your highly impractical ensemble which you inexplicably chose for a long road trip in a warm car.

Sure, they have some good times – their express tourism is fun, and the continuous gag about his passport is cute, but overall our impression is that they should have been a holiday fling. Not building a life together. Especially as they fall into the classic trap of “sure, my partner and I have agreed on a life goal together, but I’m sure they’ll change their mind now that I have!” Then again, maybe that is the point of the story..? In which case: well done to all involved!

“Do you ever get the feeling that all our vehicles always falling apart is some sort of metaphor..?”

We have a fondness for Cathy though – just the way she talks is enough to make us want to hang out with her. And we’d pay good money to see a crossover show with Cathy and Howie befriending Mortitia and Gomez Addams! Or Nick and Nora Charles. If anyone wants to develop that show we’ll take 10% of all proceeds, including merchandising, please and thank you.

What we learned: Who travels in a vinyl outfit? Have fun with the thrush…

Next time: Weekend (1967)

#301 The Young Girls of Rochefort/Les demoiselles de Rochefort

Watched: January 31 2021 (Wow! It’s been almost a year…)

Director: Jacques Demy

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux, Grover Dale

Year: 1967

Runtime: 2h 0min

Source

Delphine and Solange (real life sisters Deneuve and Dorléac) are two very accomplished sisters desperately seeking men. Their mother, Yvonne (Darrieux), runs a café and regrets leaving her fiancé ten years prior due to his unfortunate last name (Dame). In their small seaside town, they sing, dance, frolick, endanger their children, and avoid meeting both their soulmates and axe murderers.

♬♪♫ Nothing bad will ever happeeeeeeen! ♪♫ And we must find love or we’ll surely diiiiiiie! ♪♫

The small town of Rochefort is an eventful one, and there are plenty of things going on. For instance, artist Maxence (Perrin) needs to lower his fucking expectations and perhaps focus more on what sort of personality his dream girl will have and less on what she will look like; Yvonne keeps letting COMPLETE STRANGERS PICK UP HER SON FROM SCHOOL, the complete madwoman; and one of the regular guests at her café is running around brutally murdering women.

Not to mention all the tourists playing fast and loose with gravity. The town’s really never been the same since the cruise ships started docking…

Oh, didn’t we mention that? 103 minutes into this romantic and sweet musical, a woman (Lola, actually) is brutally murdered. With an axe. And all the characters proceed to make jokes about it.

♪♫ Femiciiiiiiiiide ♬ C’est la vie! ♬♪♫

Les demoiselles de Rochefort is sort of the opposite of Weekend (which we’re coming to soon) – everyone is sweet and simple (except for the whole axe murderer subplot). It’s beautiful in its pastel ice cream colours, and the singing and dancing is everything.

Literally us sashaying around for a week after we watched it

Delphine and Maxence’s hopeless romantics are contrasted by the more sensible yet still artistic Solange and Andy Miller (Kelly). Then there are the fun and shallow carnies (Chakiris and Dale) and all the fantastic dance numbers. Sure, it’s mildly annoying that no one in this small town has ever met each other before, and Yvonne really is the world’s most irresponsible parent, but this is an incredibly sweet and charming movie which we’re going to watch annually. Do yourself a favour and join us!

♪♫ In the Navy ♬♪♫

What we learned: We need to step up our hat game if we’re ever to meet a man…

Next time: Two for the Road (1967)

#300 The Producers

Watched: July 6 2021

Director: Mel Brooks

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Estelle Winwood, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, Lee Meredith, Renée Taylor

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 28min

Max Bialystock (Mostel), The King of Broadway, has fallen on hard times. He is now dependent on doling out sexual favours to rich, elderly widows to finance his plays, most of which don’t do particularly well.

Seriously though, we love seeing older women being unabashedly sexual. You go, girl!

Leo Bloom (Wilder) is an insecure, young accountant tasked with auditing his accounts. However, he is pulled into the fraudulent world of Bialystock and comes up with a way to make more money from a theatrical flop than a hit.

“I have never been more aroused in my entire life”

Teaming up, the two men go searching for the most offensive play they can find – something that could never ever be a hit. And they score big with Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden – a love letter to Hitler written by an actual Nazi, Franz Liebkind (Mars).

🎵”Don’t be stupid be a smarty – come and join the Nazi party!”
“More like a lynching party once this shit opens…”

While the play itself should ensure their (un)success, they seal the deal by engaging a horrible director and casting an off-beat hippie who just happened to wander into the audition to play the lead. Everything is coming up Bialystock!

He even got a lovely new secretary in the shape of no-so-Swedish go-go-dancer Ulla

We love EVERYTHING about this movie, and we go around humming “Springtime for Hitler” a LOT more than any human being should. From the cabinet filled with framed pictures of Bialystock’s old, rich women to “We’re Prisoners of Love,” The Producers is a hilarious romp fueled by fantastic performances and Mel Brooks’ particular sense of humour. The plot, the music, the characters, the dialogue – it all works, and we can watch it again and again. And so should you.

Just look at this! It’s such a bananas idea that it has to work.

What we learned: Friendship is magic.

Next time: Bonus: Favourites #251-300

#299 The President’s Analyst

Watched: May 24 2021

Director: Theodore J. Flicker

Starring: James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden, Joan Delaney, Pat Harrington Jr.

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 43min

Source

Dr Sidney Schaefer (Coburn) is recruited to be, as the title suggests, the President’s psychoanalyst. And boy does the President need it! Schaefer is conveniently moved to a new home with a secret tunnel connecting it to the White House, meaning that his new patient can call on him at all hours of the day and night. And he does.

Who wouldn’t want this to be the face they see morning, noon and night?

Cushy or not, the job is top secret and totes private, so Schaefer cannot vent to anyone about the stress and pressure of his new position, and this soon starts to tear on his own psyche. He begins to see conspiracies everywhere – even suspecting his new girlfriend of spying on him.

“Leave your girlfirend, your friends and your family. Come with us. We’re safe. We’re good. We’re not going to stare at you while you sleep and try to steal your soul.”

Turns out he’s right all along! There are a whole bunch of agencies out to get him, such as the CEA, the FBR, the KGB and, worst of all, the TPC! How is a poor psychiatrist supposed to get out of this mess?

The way we all get out of scrapes: with the help of a gun-toting, trigger happy, all-American family with excellent fashion sense, of course!

This movie is hilarious. Ok, it’s very, very silly, but if you’re in the right mood it’s great. The sixties are truly swinging in this comedy/thriller/sci-fi, and Coburn is swinging along. Despite his strife, he seems very jolly and happy all the time – he handles everything thrown at him with ease. He appears to be especially delighted during his stint as a gong player in a hippie band while on the run.

“I cannot believe I wasted my life with a good education and the pursuit of a career! Stick it to the MAN!”

The quintessential American Family™ the Quandrills are also among our favourites, but what we enjoyed the most about this movie were all the different agencies and their relationships with each other. The agents and spies from the FBR, KGB, TPC, CSS, CEA, etc. tend to bump into each other so often that they’re all old friends – especially Masters (Cambridge) and Kropotkin (Darden), CEA and KGB, respectively. Their scenes together are easily the best parts of the movie. We also enjoyed the piles of dead assassins and spies. Mass murder is hilarious (in the right context)!

Also, phone companies are evil. But we already knew that.

What we learned: Are you paranoid if they’re actually out to get you?

Next time: The Producers (1967)