Let’s start with one of my guiltiest pleasures, Black Hawk Down, because – like multi-storey car park crime – it’s wrong on so many levels. It’s directed by Ridley Scott, for a start. What has Ridley Scott contributed towards the happiness of man? I mean, apart from Alien and Blade Runner? And the gladiator bits in Gladiator? Apart from that, what has he contributed? Continue reading “Fear of a Black Planet: The Ten Most Racist Films Ever”
Ben Johnson (1918-1996) started out as a stuntman and rodeo rider before making a whole bunch of Westerns with first John Ford and then Sam Peckinpah. It’s his work with the latter on The Wild Bunch, his Oscar-winning performance in The Last Picture Show and his role in the John Milius gangster pic Dillinger that interest me, and should interest you. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Ben Johnson”
So, Quentin Tarantino is developing a film about the so-called “Manson Murders”, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, the Guardian etc. Well, it had to happen. Tarantino and Manson are perfectly matched, even down to the love of the N-word.
Just what IS the enduring appeal of – the fascination with – Charles Manson? I‘ve asked myself that question, and been asked it, many times, After all, I wrote a book “about” him, even if it was really more about me, and movies, and all my unmade scripts (including a Manson musical). Continue reading “Saint Quentin, I hate every inch of you”
Regular readers of my blog (hi Rod!) will no doubt recall that A Walk on the Wilde Side – my homage to the cinema of Cornel Wilde – threatened a separate post about Yaphet Kotto, just so I could keep saying the name Yaphet Kotto over and over again as I typed it. After all, this is the man who not only faced off against Roger Moore in Live and Let Die but suffocated to death in a paint shop in Blue Collar AND got to play Idi Amin in Raid on Entebbe (and did a much better job than either Forest Whitaker or Tom Hanks). Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Blotto about Kotto”
The subject of today’s post is Cornel Wilde, B-movie actor turned independent producer, director, actor and sometimes writer, whose handful of 1960s and ‘70s films, while not entirely ignored on release, have now been more or less forgotten, probably because they had the temerity to be clumsily written, badly acted, and directed with fists of ham so great the Spanish could sell them to the British in their overpriced tapas bars. Continue reading “Archaeology Cornel: A Walk on the Wilde Side”
Did a vehicle come from somewhere out there, just to land in the Andes? So sings George Duke on the Mothers of Invention album One Size Fits All, recorded in 1975 and perhaps the pinnacle of this, the very finest of Mothers line-ups. Well, in spite of Erich Von Daniken and Close Encounters, we can be fairly sure that the answer is no, a vehicle did not come from out there just to land in the Andes, or anywhere else. There are plenty of perfectly rational explanations for the Nazca lines, some of which also acknowledge and incorporate a relationship with the Gods/cosmos, albeit one emanating from Earth, and focusing on the entirely understandable need to believe in other worlds/higher powers, rather than entertaining the actual existence of extra-terrestrial or supernatural intelligence. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Inca Roads”
First of all, a big shout to my colleague Laurence Elliott, who is a bit of a fellow Germanophile and, more importantly, recently lent me his prized copy of the much-trumpeted film Northern Soul (much trumpeted on its own website anyway – join the club, I say) which he got for Christmas from his nan. Or it might have been his sister. This small act of kindness has prompted me to offer up a modest overview of Northern Soul on film, both fictional and documentary. As if there were a difference in these post-truth times! Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Northern Soul on Film”
Hooray! At last, we have some REAL archaeology to get our teeth into. We’re talking Mayan pyramids, and Mayan language, and Mel Gibson. But as ever with archaeology on film, we’re gonna get mired in controversy over how accurate things really are. The first time I saw Apocalypto, I thought “Cool!” Sure, there’s a bit too much joking around at the start with tapir testicles, and Jaguar Paw’s young, pregnant wife and son at the bottom of the well is a touch too Hollywood, but the decision to use an indigenous language (Yucatec) is a stroke of genius, and the pursuit of Jaguar Paw by the Bad Mayans is super exciting and combines elements of Deliverance with Cornel Wilde’s The Naked Prey to great effect.
Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Apocalypto”
Deliverance is the ultimate “dam” movie. Okay, so there aren’t really that many films about dams, but they do include a couple of corkers, namely Larissa Shepitko’s difficult-to-find Farewell (completed by her husband Elem Klimov after Shepitko died in a car crash, so very much a farewell to his wife as well as a farewell to the Siberian village threatened by a hydro-electric scheme) and the Argentinian/Welsh co-production Patagonia, neither of which we’re concerned with here, as I’m saving Argentinian/Welsh co-productions for another, necessarily short post at some point in the future. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Deliverance”