Cult Sights & Sounds, Bristol, Spain & South America



Archaeology Corner: Here’s To Them (Gordon & Ted)

It’s a dangerous thing, the auteur theory. It can lead you to thinking that a workmanlike director such as Gordon Douglas or Ted Kotcheff, neither of whom anyone bar a few film buffs has ever heard of, will turn in a masterpiece every time; that someone as competent but essentially limited as Douglas or Kotcheff will somehow transcend the clunkiest of scripts, the demands of genre, the cruel privations of budget, every time they stand behind a camera. Yes, they did make four of my favourite films (Them and Barquero, Two Gentlemen Sharing and Wake in Fright). But for every Barquero, every Wake in Fright, there is a Viva Knievel, an Uncommon Valour. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Here’s To Them (Gordon & Ted)”


Bristol Fashion: Deadly Strangers

Touted as a Bristol film by Bristol 24/7 (see below) it’s more of a Weston film, really, and not much of that! Still, how often do you get to see the great Sterling Hayden (Johnny Guitar, Dr Strangelove, The Godfather, The Long Goodbye) on the pier at Weston-Super-Mud? Answer: once, in Deadly Strangers. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Deadly Strangers”

Bristol Fashion: Two or Three Films I Know About Bristol  

There is a lot to be proud of in Bristol, but, Aardman Animations apart, a fine film-making tradition isn’t one of them. Sure, we’ve produced great TV, great playwrights and novelists, more great music (since the 1980s anyway) than you can shake a Gibson SG at, but films? The Bristol 24/7 website has a “definitive” list of 27 films from the 1930s (Java Head) to 2014 (The Inbetweeners) which includes quite a few films with the most tangential of connections to the city (The Titfield Thunderbolt, for example, has one scene shot in Temple Meads, while Truly, Madly, Deeply pretends that Clifton is London and that Juliet Stevenson can act). Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Two or Three Films I Know About Bristol  “

Archaeology Corner: Ed, Bela & Boris

I recently re-watched Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, which is, for my money, Burton’s second-best picture (the best being Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, obviously). It helps if you’ve seen – and enjoyed – Plan 9 From Outer Space and/or Glen Or Glenda or any of the various, beyond-low-budget films Wood made in the 1950s, but you don’t NEED to have seen them, because the Burton film will make you want to seek them out anyway. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Ed, Bela & Boris”

Bristol Fashion: The Cary Grant Acid Test

As many (but not all) of you will know, Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach, lived at one point in Picton Street, Bristol (in the house my cousin Marc bought back in the 80s) went to Fairfield School and moved, first to London, where he developed his unique hybrid of West Country and mockney, all delivered with a distinctive staccato enunciation, and later to the United States. Oh yeah, he also made some films, and in the late 1950s/1960s took more than 100 LSD trips, for strictly therapeutic reasons. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: The Cary Grant Acid Test”


It’s fifty years since May ’68! What better way to celebrate than with a new, improved (i.e. shorter) version of my first book, 68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME? First published in 2016, the feedback I subsequently received, from both readers, was that, while they loved the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll, and even the movie trivia, they could have happily done without the “treatments” i.e.  the summaries of every script I had ever written. In so doing, or saying, they join a long and honourable list of film producers who never bothered to read my scripts either. Continue reading “68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME (REDUX)”

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Archaeology Corner: Battle Beyond the Stars

At first sight, Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) may appear to be nothing more than a shameless rip-off of Star Wars (but then Star Wars is nothing more than a shameless amalgam of Flash Gordon and The Hidden Fortress, with elements of Lord of the Rings, Dune, Arthurian legend, dualism, Zoroastrianism etc etc.) Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Battle Beyond the Stars”

Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue

No, it’s not a name anyone is immediately familiar with, unless your interest in the band Chicago extends to the man who produced their early albums (James William Guercio ) or you are such a rabidly fanatical Beach Boys fan that you know the name of their manager in the mid-1970s (James William Guercio ) or you’re even more of a Zappa/Mothers freak and have read the list of “material contributors” to their ground-breaking first (double) album, Freak Out , which, among such luminaries as Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Salvador Dali and Sonny Boy Williamson, lists one Jim Guercio. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue”

Archaeology Corner: The Friends of Peter Boyle

I recently watched downbeat 1970s gangster movie The Friends of Eddie Coyle for the first time, and while it’s by no means a great film, or even a good one, it does feature another great turn from the wonderful Peter Boyle, here playing a Boston Irish barman/mobster with a contract on his fellow criminal Robert Mitchum.

Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: The Friends of Peter Boyle”

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