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Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England)
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Five Bloody Graves [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Five Bloody Graves [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Robert Dix

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice One Bud!, 6 July 2014
This is supposedly one of B movie specialist Al Adamson’s more coherent and better movies. Along with other classics he made like “Dracula Versus Frankenstein”(71), it seems to have gained some sort of cult status, where some Americans still have fond memories of those low grade drive in/grindhouse fodder movies of the time. I am not cluttered with such nostalgia! Robert Dix is the character who brings death wherever he rides in his quest to kill Satago a fierce Apache warrior who murdered his wife. Along the way he meets up with quite an eclectic bunch, and I will leave you to guess what happens to a lot of them.

I have to admit that a lot of genuine talent served their apprenticeship in low budget movies. It was also the permanent residence of the less talented like Al Adamson and the legendary Ed Wood, to whom he deserves comparison. Adamson populates his film with actors, who shall we put it politely, ‘have seen better days’, like John Carradine, a caricature of himself as a bible thumping preacher with an eye for the ladies, and Scott Brady as a mouthy pimp. Then we have a number of actors who are so poor they would never have the chance to see better days, like the ‘totally devoid of character’ lead Robert Dix, who also wrote the cobbled together plot. Another Hollywood has been Gene Raymond provides the narration voiceover, in the cheery role of death. The flimsy plot simply provides an excuse for some typically exploitive gratuitous violence for the time and some sexual content. The film rattles along to the strains of stock music plundered from various sources. British viewers will laugh when they hear ITVs old “Ten O Clock News” title music blaring out amongst the mayhem!

Amazingly there are actually a couple of good things about the film. The cinematography in eye catching Utah locations by the talented Vilmos Zsigmound is beautifully shot. There are also some funny moments as in Scott Brady’s death scene where he threatens to haunt Dix after he is dead if he bothers trying to bury him. A nice reference to Adamson’s horror flicks I thought! I also liked it when Carradine shoots one character through his Bible. Not sure what the good book says about that! John ‘Bud’ Cardos also deserves a mention in despatches for doubling up as both Satago and his half brother. He does a particularly scary face for Satago, which must have required much practice in front of a mirror! Sadly he did not receive an Oscar nomination! The film industry can be such a cruel one! This film is not all bad and I have a strong feeling it will hold great appeal to ‘bad movie buffs’. Right up their arroyo as another reviewer put it!


Sands of the Kalahari [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Sands of the Kalahari [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 10.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Reveals a Few Cracks!, 5 July 2014
"The Sands of Kalahari" is one of those films that tend to stay in the memory. I remember it particularly for those baboons and the films dramatic ending. I enjoy a good survival film and had the opportunity to watch it again recently to see if it was as good as I remembered it. The film seems to have acquired some cult status, and is generally well reviewed, so the signs were good. Having watched it again I felt it had not aged particularly well in comparison with "Flight of the Phoenix", a film it is inevitably compared with, and which to me remains fresh to this day.

The story has a small plane crashing in the inhospitable desert, where a small band of disparate individuals fight for survival. Man is stripped to his primitive core, and where no law and order exist it becomes a survival of the fittest in a distinctly Darwinian struggle. Directed by Cy Endfield and starring Stanley Baker, the same team behind the superb "Zulu", a similar success in Africa was hoped for. Sadly this was not to be the case. The film was pretty brutal for its time and the downbeat story may have put people off. Partly filmed in one of the most stunning landscapes of the world, in what is now Namibia, the film is visually stunning. It also has some interesting bits of characterisation, especially Susannah York's enigmatic lone female, who is the object of male desire. The films malevolent atmosphere is also impressive, and I liked one reviewers comment comparing it to "Lord of the Flies". Spot on! However there was a lot about the film I did not like so much!

The acting in the film is very patchy indeed. Stanley Baker is excellent as ever, and Susannah York shows us what a fine actress she could be, but the rest are not so good. Nigel Davenport, with his corny Afrikaans accent, steals the ham acting award with his ultra overblown performance. He reaches Everest heights of hysteria that had me feeling embarrassed for him. Stuart Whitman struts about like a bare chested male model with challenging behaviours. Stalwart though he was, he was not perhaps one of Hollywoods best actors. A pity that George Peppard, who Whitman replaced in the role, was unable to take the part. As a survival film it is seriously flawed. The survivors miraculously find water, and tsamma melons seem to be growing on an industrial scale. They trap and shoot animals with an ease that would take years of experience. The Harry Andrews character seems to be a sort of Laurens van der Post, wise beyond belief in the ways of survival. Then we have some small blokes running about in monkey suits indulging in some very un-baboon sort of behaviour. Not an animal you would want to tangle with I might add! The miraculous rescue of one character at deaths door by fortuitously passing bushmen was the straw that broke the camels back of improbabilities for me, and plunged it into negative review territory.

Watch survival films like "Dersu Uzala" or "Jeremiah Johnson" to get a feel for the real deal, or read books like Henno Martin's brilliant "The Sheltering Desert", set in the same area, Laurens van der Post's "Bushmen of the Kalahari", or maybe best of all any of Louis Liebenberg's books on tracking. He was a man who studied the bushmen in great depth, and they are the worlds great survival experts. Patrick White's brilliant fictional work "A Fringe of Leaves", based on a true story is also well worth reading. Whilst this film certainly has some interesting moments it is too uneven for my own tastes.


dead men dont make shadows/django meets sartana hunt powers double
dead men dont make shadows/django meets sartana hunt powers double

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Bad!, 3 July 2014
The director of this abomination is Demofilo Fidani or the handily westernised Miles Deem. He seems to have a reputation for making unoriginal Spaghetti garbage, and this one certainly maintains his low standards. It is about as bad as bad can get, and that is very very bad. An inexperienced sheriff takes over at lawless Black City where some panto villains run the show. They spend their time groping young women and shooting the locals, who perform a triple axle with pike when biting the dust. Enter a mysterious black clad stranger who has all the skills to sort out these naughty boys.

I apologise if I have made this film seem remotely interesting! It isn't! This is low budget shoddiness personified. Fist fights break out for no reason other than to fill in the time. The acting is non-existent. The props and costumes seem to have been borrowed from a local village hall. The location cinematography is fine if you like the infamous Spaghetti day at the gravel pits look. This is the sort of thing that a few uni students could have put together during the summer holidays, but to be fair probably have done a better job. Jack Betts or Hunt Powers or whatever his name really is, gives us an abysmal wannabe Django in another unofficial sequel. This time the makers throw in Sartana to try and cash in further on big names. Cliches abound with Django even blowing the smoke from his gun. There is not one single original touch in the film. This is a gobsmackingly bad film that plumbs the murky depths of awfulness. I have to doubt my own sanity in watching it to the end. It is so bad....it is....err...well actually just plain BAD!

Due to reasons of risk to my mental health I did not watch "Dead Men Dont Make Shadows". Why compound ones mistakes! Hence the incomplete review. There is a school of thought that believes the Spaghetti was the final instrument of death to the western genre. Watching this is strong evidence for that case!


Mogambo [DVD] [1953]
Mogambo [DVD] [1953]
Dvd ~ Clark Gable
Price: 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable Ford!, 2 July 2014
This review is from: Mogambo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
A film that was box office gold when it came out has not dated particularly well, unlike some of director John Ford’s other work. MGM, keen to repeat the success of “King Soloman’s Mines” with another trip to the jungle, decided on an African remake of the 1932 film “Red Dust”, starring a young Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. Gable’s career had gone into decline and so MGM dusted him down and twenty years later used him again, alongside those legendary beauties Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. The result was enough to keep him a viable lead until his untimely death a few years later.

The film itself is a pretty tame affair, with a rather frigid Kelly falling for the Kings ageing charms much to the chagrin of Ava Gardner. Things quickly get steamy in the jungle! Donald Sinden does a good job as the English wet lettuce wilting before Gable’s mucho macho charisma. Somewhere amongst all this some innocent animals get caught and shot. John Ford seems to have had more in common with John Huston than I realised. Both were very happy to take a busmans holiday on the ‘dark continent’. It is well documented that Huston used “The African Queen” shooting trip as a glorified hunting trip! To be fair he came back with a good film! Ford went anonymously about his business and came back with a bad film. This is the stereotypical Africa of the ‘yes bwana’ variety that is best forgotten. Howard Hawk’s film “Hatari”, starring John Wayne seems to have used ideas from “Mogambo”, but is far more entertaining. As Ford must have known at the time, this was simply a commercial potboiler. It was a child of its time and is perhaps best left there!


Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (Region 2)
Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (Region 2)
Dvd ~ John Hodiak
Offered by Great-DVD's
Price: 10.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Hams., 2 July 2014
This is one of those serviceable westerns that the Italian spaghettis were so fond of imitating a few years later. The plot has a gang of outlaws just released from prison trying to locate the gold stashed by a former partner in crime. The trail leads them to a ghost town and a whole lot of trouble with a capital T! The ghost town looks pretty impressive and reminded me of the one in the Italian western “Keoma”. The film seems to have been inspired by “Yellow Sky”, made a few years before. That film also had a gang of villains fighting over gold in a ghost town, complete with a few hostile Indians to spice things up even further.

The plot is predictable and the acting is average at best. John Hodiak who was actually a very decent actor, veers off into Philippine trench depths of hamming it up territory. The film is perhaps most interesting for also starring John Derek, the ‘American Vadim’, who was better known for his wives than his acting or directing abilities. Bo Derek and Ursula Andress seem excellent choices, but what were they like with the household chores? Derek also competes for the ham acting honours. It was nice to see the veteran actor Ray Teal given a larger role than usual and oblige with a stand out performance. Mexican actress Maria Marques appears as a Navajo Indian in one of her few Hollywood roles. The director Fred F Sears directs with plenty of energy, if a little misguided at times. This B movie specialist packed a lot of films into his sadly short life. This is an average oater that passes the time pleasantly for the western buff.


Ambush at Tomahawk Gap [DVD] [1953] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ambush at Tomahawk Gap [DVD] [1953] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Derek
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 10.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Hams., 2 July 2014
This is one of those serviceable westerns that the Italian spaghettis were so fond of imitating a few years later. The plot has a gang of outlaws just released from prison trying to locate the gold stashed by a former partner in crime. The trail leads them to a ghost town and a whole lot of trouble with a capital T! The ghost town looks pretty impressive and reminded me of the one in the Italian western “Keoma”. The film seems to have been inspired by “Yellow Sky”, made a few years before. That film also had a gang of villains fighting over gold in a ghost town, complete with a few hostile Indians to spice things up even further.

The plot is predictable and the acting is average at best. John Hodiak who was actually a very decent actor, veers off into Philippine trench depths of hamming it up territory. The film is perhaps most interesting for also starring John Derek, the ‘American Vadim’, who was better known for his wives than his acting or directing abilities. Bo Derek and Ursula Andress seem excellent choices, but what were they like with the household chores? Derek also competes for the ham acting honours. It was nice to see the veteran actor Ray Teal given a larger role than usual and oblige with a stand out performance. Mexican actress Maria Marques appears as a Navajo Indian in one of her few Hollywood roles. The director Fred F Sears directs with plenty of energy, if a little misguided at times. This B movie specialist packed a lot of films into his sadly short life. This is an average oater that passes the time pleasantly for the western buff.


WAY OF A GAUCHO (RORY CALHOUN, GENE TIERNEY) Region 2
WAY OF A GAUCHO (RORY CALHOUN, GENE TIERNEY) Region 2

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE!!!!, 2 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Beware of this one. Although advertised at the time of this review as "Way of a Gaucho" starring Rory Calhoun and Gene Tierney, it is in fact Leopoldo Torre Nilsson's film "Martin Fierro", based on the epic poem by Argentine writer Jose Hernandez. "Way of a Gaucho" is based on the same poem and the two films would actually make make excellent companion pieces if "Martin Fierro" had English sub titles. Unless you are a Spanish speaker this one is best avoided. I have made Amazon aware of this mistake so hopefully it will be rectified soon. The one star is for the mistake and not the film which sounds excellent from the reviews that I quickly glanced at. You will see from the verified purchase that I made this mistake. I would like to add that Amazon dealt with my complaint rapidly and I was fully refunded.


Lawless Street [DVD] [1955] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Lawless Street [DVD] [1955] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Randolph Scott

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warming the Cockles of my Heart., 2 July 2014
Another entertaining collaboration between producer Harry Joe Brown and that stalwart western actor Randolph Scott. This one was made shortly before what became known as the `Ranown cycle' of westerns, where the two joined forces with director Budd Boetticher to make a superb collection of low budget, but high quality westerns. Interestingly Kenneth Gamet's script moves Scott closer to the character he was to portray in those films. The main character displays some of the vulnerability and homespun moments that his later roles utilised so much.

This film has Scott as the sheriff of a ...well...err...rather lawless town. Nasty characters turn up to do battle with the sheriff who is no slouch with a six gun. Scott needs to find out who wants his head on a platter before he comes a cropper. Complicating matters further is a female from his past. Nothing new here to write home about you might rightly think, but the film is lifted out of mediocrity by an interesting script and the usual strong performance of its leading man. Angela Lansbury is a surprisingly good choice as the woman in Scott's life, who offers much more than simple feminine interest in a role that actually uses her obvious acting talents. She even provides us with a delightful little song which should warm the cockles of the coldest heart! The film has to make use of an imaginative script as it stays locked within the confines of the town, and is unable to use sweeping outdoor cinematography as the usual western eye candy.

The support cast is average, but they all give it their best. Nice to see the Australian actor Michael Pate strutting his stuff as the gunslinging heavy, escaping his usual native American role. The experienced B director Joseph H. Lewis handles the material confidently, and seemed to improve as he got older. He made the excellent "7th Cavalry"(56) and the criminally under watched "The Halliday Brand"(57) shortly after. A film that is crying out for a DVD if ever one was! "A lawless Street" is a western that has stuck in my mind for some reason, so it must have something a bit different to do that. Perhaps it is the ending which I found so satisfying. Give it a try and you might see what I mean!


Royal Flash [DVD]
Royal Flash [DVD]
Dvd ~ Malcolm McDowell
Price: 14.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britt Eckland. Like Dancing with a Dead Nun! Surely not!, 11 Jun 2014
This review is from: Royal Flash [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge fan of George MacDonald Fraser's hilarious Flashman series of novels. The cowardly character first appeared in Thomas Hughes classic novel "Tom Brown's Schooldays", and Fraser had the wonderful idea of resurrecting the character, still behaving very badly in later life. Although an inveterate cowering cad he manages to accumulate military honours and public adulation by putting falsehood to good use. All this leaves much scope for high humour. Whilst the film is not as good as the books, it does give a flavour of the character. This one uses Fraser's second novel in the series "Royal Flash", itself a clever parody of Anthony Hope's "Prisoner of Zenda", which also happens to be my personal favourite.

The story has Flash swept up into a web of intrigue as he is forced to impersonate a Danish prince, through the evil machinations of the dastardly Otto Von Bismark, who is most definitely not a man to cross. Oliver Reed is perfect as the formidable Bismark, as is Alan Bates as the dashing but deadly Rudi Von Sternberg. Malcolm MacDowell lacks the physical stature of Fraser's Flashman, but makes up for that with his acting. I felt Reed would have been equally well cast as Flashman! The rather wooden Florinda Bolkan is perhaps not the most inspired choice to play Lola Montez! The supporting cast is a who's who of notable British actors. Michael Hordern, Lionel Jeffries and Alastair Sim all make amusing contributions. Also look out for David Jason and Bob Hoskins in brief appearances. The lovely Britt Eckland plays an ice maiden and the great Henry Cooper appears as surprise surprise a boxer.

The director Richard Lester brings his own unique quirky slapstick approach to proceedings, which is not always successful. The fine costumes and ornate locations cannot be faulted. We also get some typical Flashisms. On one occasion he says to the very German Bismark "How dare you lay hands on an Englishman you cabbage eating hounds". When asked to flatter the icy Britt Eckland he tells her "you are so pale, like mist in a cemetery". His assessment of her dancing skills "like dancing with a dead nun" does not help matters either! The film certainly deserved better than a limited theatre release. It is far from perfect, and the quirky humour may not be to everyones taste, but there is certainly enough here to please and appease the dedicated Flashman fan. It is nice to see that it is now more widely available on region 2 DVD.


The Man From Snowy River [DVD]
The Man From Snowy River [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kirk Douglas
Price: 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematography, Cinematography, Cinematography!, 11 Jun 2014
If ever there was a film worth seeing just for its ravishing cinematography, then this is it! The sweeping vistas of the snowy mountains are spectacular. Combine this with some of the very best horse sequences ever shot, which show astonishing technical flair, and you have visual eye candy to drool over. Some of the slow motion photography highlighting great feats of horsemanship is simply stunning. The crispness and clarity for a film made in 1982 is a wonder to behold! Add all this together and it is no surprise to learn that this film holds a special place in so many people’s heart. The story itself comes a poor second to the visual delights on display, but this in no way diminishes its charm!

Tom Burlinson plays a young mountain man, who following the death of his father, has to prove that he is man enough to live alone in the high country. The film is essentially a coming of age movie that incorporates romance, lost love, death and plenty of action. It could firmly be placed in the western genre as it uses all the features common to those. We get an angry rancher, a grizzled prospector, mustangs (called Brumby’s in Australia), bunkhouses, a little gunplay, fisticuffs and an attractive rancher’s daughter. Kirk Douglas, who shows some commendable athleticism for a man in his mid sixties, plays a dual role as the rancher and his more grizzled prospector brother, who looks as if he should be hunting treasure on the Spanish Main! Sigrid Thornton plays the beautiful ranchers daughter and Jack Thompson plays the legendary mountain man Clancy.

The film was shot in the Victoria high country near Mansfield, showing that Australia has more than just the harsh outback, showcased so memorably in “Walkabout”. Aimed at a family audience there is little violence or bad language, although it still manages to infuse the film with that uniquely Australian brand of testosterone fuelled hairy chest beating mucho machismo! There is no place for sissy’s in these mountains! The incidental story is based on a poem by Banjo Paterson, but provides enough structure to deliver a hugely enjoyable film. The Australian film industry has provided us with many fine films in recent decades. This is my personal favourite! Five stars for such a splendid looking film!


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