Roger Corman in the 70s
1. Bloody Mama (Roger Corman, 1970)
2. Gas-s-s-s aka Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (Roger Corman, 1970)
3. Von Richthofen and Brown (Roger Corman, 1971)
Chuck Norris in the 70s
4. Breaker! Breaker! (Don Hulette, 1977)
sci-fi in the 70s, German-style
5. Eolomea (Hermann Zschoche, 1972)
6. Im Staub der Sterne / In the Dust of the Stars (Gottfried Kolditz, 1976)
7. Operation Ganymed (Rainer Erler, 1977)
8. Foul Play (Colin Higgins, 1978) (re-watch)
more German speculative fictions
9. Traumstadt / Dream City (Johannes Schaaf, 1973)
10. Das Millionenspiel / The Millions Game (Tom Toelle, 1970)
11. Ghahremanan / The Invincible Six (Jean Negulesco, 1970)
12. Marg dar baran / Death in the Rain (Samuel Khachikian, 1975)
13. Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (John Hough, 1974)
14. Apachen (Gottfried Kolditz, 1973)
15. The Black Hole (re-watch) (Gary Nelson, 1979)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
16. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season 1, Episode 1, "Awakening" (re-watch)
17-18. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season 1, Episodes 2/2a, "Planet of the Slave Girls"
19. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season 1, Episode 3, "Vegas in Space"
20-21. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season 1, Episodes 4-5, "The Plot to Kill a City"
21. Finalmente le mille e una notte / 1001 Nights of Pleasure (Antonio Margheriti, 1972)
22. Summer in the City (Wim Wenders, 1971) (re-watch)
23. Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter / The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (Wim Wenders, 1972) (re-watch)
Wim Wenders continued
24. Die scharlachrote Buchstabe / The Scarlet Letter (1973)
25. Alice in die Städten / Alice in the Cities (1974) (re-watch?)
26. Im Lauf der Zeit / Kings of the Road (1975) (re-watch)
27. Der amerikanische Freund / The American Friend (1977) (re-watch)
Neo-noir nostalgia attempt, x2
28. Chandler (Paul Magwood, 1971)
29. Pulp (Mike Hodges, 1972)
30. Arabian Adventure (Kevin Connor, 1979)
31. Tatort: Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße / Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
(Samuel Fuller, 1972) (re-watch)
There's a making-of documentary on the Olive BD of this feature-length film taken from the West German "Tatort" TV series which I gather was something like an anthology; I suspect the doc will shed some interesting light on this, and I also wouldn't be surprised if it's better than the film. This was dim in my memory - I think I had seen the shorter 102-minute cut back in the 90s at some point, probably at Facets in Chicago - and it wasn't one of Fuller's better films as I recalled - nor does it really improve on the re-watch, this time of the 2-hour-plus director's cut. The beginning and ending are pretty cool, but overall this attempt at a gritty noir story about an international ring of extortionists that mostly prey on big-time politicians falls flat, or at least not lumpy enough to be interesting. Poor sound recording and various actors struggling to one extent or another with their English (star Glenn Corbett is American so no problem there) is one small problem; a larger one is that it's just too repetitive, with several scenes of Corbett (an American agent working undercover to bust the ring and help a US Senator with dreams of the Presidency) and his femme fatale partner (?) Christa Lang (the director's second wife) taking very similar approaches in framing their "clients", in various scenic locales along the Rhein, mostly. There are some of the usual crazy Fuller elements, like the long opening sequence that leads into a kind of cool chase, and an ending that reflects the opening, but on the whole this isn't really successful and it may well have been better in the shorter version.
32 Corvette Summer
(Matthew Robbins, 1978)
Mark Hamill's next film after Star Wars
made him an instant household name has been on my to-see list for decades; I may well have wanted to see it when it came out, if it played in my neck of the woods, and as it was actually a decent-sized hit it probably did. But I never did see it then and it had to wait until this year of nostalgia and isolation, and it was perhaps a good choice for now. It's an odd little movie - it starts out much as I thought it would, as a high school comedy-drama about the geeky shop kid (Hamill) who only loves cars, but it rapidly turns into a somewhat seedy and at times depressing crime/coming of age drama, as the Corvette that Ken (Hamill) has worked on all year gets stolen, and he tracks it to Vegas and gets into all kinds of trouble, much of it involving would-be hooker Vanessa (Annie Potts, also at the beginning of her career). Hamill and Potts make an appealing couple of protagonists, and there are a few unexpected twists, but ultimately this is a little too stupid and creepy - Potts' character is really problematic, given that there's nothing given about her background and we're just supposed to accept that she's always wanted to be a hooker - to really work. Still I'd give it credit for trying to put together summer comedy, crime, and car chases all in one package and at least make it coherent, if not really good.
More Buck Rogers
- all from 1979
33. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
: Season 1, Episode 6, "Return of the Fighting 69th"
34. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
: Season 1, Episode 7, "Unchained Woman"
35. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
: Season 1, Episode 8, "Planet of the Amazon Women"
36. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
: Season 1, Episode 9, "Cosmic Whiz Kid"
Episode 6 is as you might guess about some old-timer pilots called out of retirement when there's a new threat - we've seen this before already in this series! Peter Graves and Woody Strode are among the geezer, so that's kind of cool, otherwise, snooze.
Episode 7 is one of too many that make reference to "girls" or "women" or have a woman's name in the title. The more I watch this show - created by Mormons by the way - the more I see how it's an excuse for cheesecake to pull in horny teenaged boys (like myself at the time). This one involves Buck trying to help a prisoner (Jamie Lee Curtis, 20 at the time this was shot but already having 20+ TV episodes under her belt) escape from an "impregnable" fortress so that she can testify in a trial. They are pursued across a desert landscape and into a town by a relentless robot jailer - shades of Westworld
. Kind of fun, easily the best of this group.
"Planet of the Amazon Women" involves a planet depopulated of men that tricks male spacecraft pilots into following distress signals and then enslaves them. There is so much wrong here - common sense to begin with, but also it's yet another slavery episode; here we have a supposedly united Earth that rules over a large Federation (shades of another SF TV show from a decade earlier?) and everything's hunky-dory with equality and all that but at every turn we see that every other planet seems to be run as if no progress had ever been made. Well, what do we expect?
Gary Coleman is the "Cosmic Whiz Kid" from Episode 9, like Buck a 20th century survivor who's been thawed out to help a planet with it's problems as he's a super-super-genius. The explanation of his freezing and who he was in the 20th century just doesn't make any sense when you try to put this series and it's chronology together in some logical way, so don't bother - it's another "let's just throw this actor in there and make some shit up that out dumbass kiddie audience will like" thing. Also on hand: Ray Walston as the bad guy who kidnaps the young braniac.
After the first few episodes, which built in quality from "total dreck" to "borderline acceptable semi-entertainment", we have unfortunately plateaued. All of these four are better than the first episode or maybe the first two, but they aren't any better than "Plot to Kill a City" either. I can forgive the cheesy costumes, music, and FX, probably more than most people, even most people my age, and I've gotten a fair amount of enjoyment out of the "peers" of this show - sci-fi or exotic adventure - that I've seen over the past several years: Battlestar Galactica, The Six Million Dollar Man, Logan's Run, Bring 'Em Back Alive
and especially Tales of the Gold Monkey
. All of them have plenty of flaws - deep sexism usually, poor science, and generally mediocre screenplays. Little to no sense of continuity - which might be refreshing if you're tired of feeling you have to watch 30 or 70 or 120 episodes of a series in order and remember them all to "get it" with some of today's novels-in-tv-form, but is often just a sign of real laziness in writing and show-running. None of them are close to "great" television IMO and most aren't even "good" all the time. But none have quite the combination of lacking-in-charisma lead actors and atrocious storytelling as this show provides. Gil Gerard just ain't Lee Majors or Bruce Boxleitner, Erin Gray is very sexy but given little of interest to do and little snappy dialogue, and Tim O'Connor is just leaden. Even Mel Blanc as the voice of Twiki is wasted and just seems silly most of the time. And the stories are almost uniformly weak. I hate to give up on any series - too much of a completist, which is why I don't watch much TV - but I'm sorely tempted with this one; in any case I'm sure I'll be spacing out the remainder from now on.
That's it, a poor showing as with the other challenges this past month. Just couldn't get in the mood. Thanks for running it in any case blocho!