1. Bloody Mama (Roger Corman, 1970) 333 checks
2. Gas-s-s-s aka Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (Roger Corman, 1970) 141 checks
3. Von Richthofen and Brown (Roger Corman, 1971) 41 checks
4. Breaker! Breaker! (Don Hulette, 1977) 258 checks
5. Out of Print (Julia Marchese, 2014) 32 checks
6. La vérité / The Truth (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1960) 384 checks
7. Yôtô monogatari: hana no Yoshiwara hyakunin-giri / Killing in Yoshiwara / Hero of the Red Light District (Tomu Uchida, 1960) 53 checks
8. Musume tsuma haha / Daughter, Wife, Mother (Mikio Naruse, 1960) 44 checks
9. Macario (Roberto Gavaldón, 1960) 297 checks
10. MISC SHORTS 6 + 12 + 29 + 6 + 9 = 62 minutes
a) Mouse and Garden (Friz Freleng, 1960) 81 checks
b) Présentation ou Charlotte et son steak (Éric Rohmer, 1960) 207 checks
c) Universe (Roman Kroitor/Colin Low, 1960) 56 checks
d) Hyde and Go Tweet (Friz Freleng, 1960) 67 checks
e) The Stunt Double (Damian Chazelle, 2020) 3 checks
sci-fi in the 70s, German-style
11. Eolomea (Hermann Zschoche, 1972) 46 checks
12. Im Staub der Sterne / In the Dust of the Stars (Gottfried Kolditz, 1976) 27 checks
13. Operation Ganymed (Rainer Erler, 1977) 13 checks
more German speculative fictions
14. Traumstadt / Dream City (Johannes Schaaf, 1973) 23 checks
15. Das Millionenspiel / The Millions Game (Tom Toelle, 1970) 55 checks
16. Ghahremanan / The Invincible Six (Jean Negulesco, 1970) 3 checks
17. Marg dar baran / Death in the Rain (Samuel Khachikian, 1975) 2 checks
18. Apachen (Gottfried Kolditz, 1973) 15 checks
19. Finalmente le mille e una notte / 1001 Nights of Pleasure (Antonio Margheriti, 1972) 8 checks
20. Summer in the City (Wim Wenders, 1971) (re-watch) 34 checks
21. Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter / The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (Wim Wenders, 1972) (re-watch) 276 checks
Apparently a somewhat unorthodox and loose adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's mid-19th-century novel, which I've never read; in fact I think this is the first adaptation I've seen of it as well - dunno how I managed to do an English major in college, and actually like a lot of Hawthorne's short stories and films made from them, and yet be so ignorant of his most famous work. Anyway, while the setting and timeframe - Puritan New England ca 1645 - are the same, and the basic background - adultress Hester Prynne (Senta Berger, in the first performance I believe I've seen that isn't mostly decorative) is forced to wear the scarlet letter as a sign of her "crime" and because she won't reveal the male party, while scraping a living for herself and her daughter Pearl (Yella Rottländer, who is excellent), until a figure from her past returns and upsets the whole town - is also straight from the book, the development of the action goes on somewhat different lines with a different resolution. This isn't that well-regarded apparently, and the director wasn't that happy with it, but I think time has been fairly kind to it; even if the films seems a bit short and edited a little oddly, and there are other things that don't work perfectly (very strange Jürgen Knieper music for example which sounds more like instrumental soft-rock than anything else and really clashes with the dark scenario at times), there's excellent location work on the rocky Spanish coast, luminous color cinematography that certainly helps prove that Robby Müller wasn't just a b/w artist, and most of the performances, particularly Berger, Rottländer and Hans Christian Blech as the town's new doctor - and link to Hester's past. Not one of the director's best but not something to dismiss out of hand either.
23. Chambre 666 / Room 666 (Wim Wenders, 1982) 230 checks
45 minute essay film done at Cannes for TV, in which Wenders interviews 15 directors about the state of cinema and it's relationship to TV and emerging video technologies. Godard is mostly pessimistic and lamenting - including lamenting that his chair isn't positioned properly to watch the tennis match on TV; Spielberg mostly talks about the costs of big-budget Hollywood; Antionioni is the most perceptive about the oncoming video/computer revolution; Werner Herzog first has to take off his shoes and be comfortable. This is more enjoyable as a time capsule, and in particular to watch dead or obscure directors (i.e. Maroun Bagdadi, Ana Carolina) than anything else - apart from Antonioni I don't know that anybody has anything really brilliant to say, and of course almost 40 years on nobody was entirely right about the future.
24. Chandler (Paul Magwood, 1971) 44 checks
OK, you start with the title. A couple of years ago there was a Marlowe based on a Chandler story about the eponymous PI; a few years later Wim Wenders would make his first American feature called Hammett. Just throw out one of these names and the public - at least a certain, hopefully significant part of the public in those days - is going to say "gotta see that." And there was a general movement in the 70s to go back to those old masters, with lots of new adaptations of stories like The Big Sleep. So this fits right in but unfortunately despite the timing being right and a terrific cast toplined by Warren Oates and Leslie Caron and featuring classic noir stalwarts Gloria Grahame and Charles McGraw, this just falls flat. Our eponymous hero (Oates) is a down-on-his-luck PI who takes a job guarding a glamorous government witness (Caron) who's the mistress of a mob boss, and they have the fairly usual round of adventures trying to get away from assassins and such, but it all ends up pretty dull and the characters uninteresting and slack - which takes some doing when Warren Oates is your star. Some good Carmel, CA locations though the film's geography is rather muddled - I don't think you can drive from L.A. to Carmel in a few minutes or an hour.
25. Pulp (Mike Hodges, 1972) 148 checks
Marginally better, maybe, this British production shot in Malta but purporting to be in Italy also boasts a fairly solid cast - Michael Caine as a pulp fiction writer who gets pulled into a noir-tinged adventure of his own, the gorgeous Nadia Cassini as the inevitable possible femme fatale, Dennis Price, and like the previous film, some old-time noir stalwarts: Mickey Rooney, Lizabeth Scott and Lionel Stander. Scott doesnt' have much to do, Rooney's important but only there for a few minutes, and Stander is a key player for once, which is nice. Love that voice! But overall though this is I think attempting to be a sort of "unreliable narrator" story, with Caine talking about his adventures as if writing to his readers, while we see something at times slightly different, it just doesn't develop that aspect well, and doesn't gel as an interesting adventure in any way. Wasted cast and location work overall - nothing much to see here, move along.
26. Arabian Adventure (Kevin Connor, 1979) 36 checks
British director Connor made five fantasy-adventure films from 1974-9, the first three of which (The Land That TIme Forgot, At the Earth's Core, The People That TIme Forgot were Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations, the next (Warlords of Atlantis) an original screenplay set guess where, and lastly this film which is...you can guess the setting. I love this kind of stuff and had seen the first four films all at least a decade or more ago, but for some reason never got to this one until now. Odd, I had a bad feeling about it despite liking the others and this one having a similar IMDb rating. At any rate it's much the same - cheap but with a sense of fun about it, and a feeling that there's some love in this. It feels in 1979 as if it belongs in another era, if you're used to the bigger-budgeted fantasy-sf films that were gaining traction at the time - but most films were not Star Wars or Superman and there were still loads of smaller genre films being made, shot mostly on sets and with less-than-top-notch effects. If you can deal with that then you want a decent story, actors, etc - this provides the latter with the great Christopher Lee as of course the bad guy, an evil sorcerer who wants to obtain a magic rose that will give him ultimate power. To do this he enlists heroic Oliver Tobias, to whom he promises his virginal daughter Emma Samms - of course plotting a double-cross; of course, also, we have a cog in the bad guy's machinations in the case of a kid (Puneet Sira) with a magic amulet that can do all kinds of things. Genies, magic carpets, this has it all on a shoestring budget, plus a cool storm that the bad magician calls down on his own city! It's a lot like the 1940 Thief of Bagdad overall, not 1/10th as good but fun if you like the lower-rent Arabian Nights sorts of things, which I do, and it feels like it belongs to a much earlier age - perhaps all to the good in this particular case.
27. Tatort: Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße / Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (Samuel Fuller, 1972) (re-watch) 42 checks
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.
28. Corvette Summer (Matthew Robbins, 1978) 108 checks
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.
29. Wim Wenders shorts 12 + 25 + 21 + 13 = 71 minutes
a) Same Player Shoots Again (1968) 30 checks
b) Silver City Revisited (1969) 24 checks
c) Alabama: 2000 Light Years From Home (1969) 14 checks
d) 3 amerikanische LP's (1969) 9 checks
The first two of these are included on the "Road Movies" box set from Criterion but alas are the two least-interesting, both formalist studies that bear little relation to the director's later work and just aren't that interesting on their own. Same Player is just the same short shot of a man in what appears to be an army coat stumbling along a street, repeated with different color filters. Silver City is slightly more interesting because it's different shots - 10 to be precises - of various scenes in Munich along with some static shots of paintings, each about 2 1/2 minutes long. There's occasional music, but not enough as the visuals just aren't that interesting and don't add up to much.
Alabama, which can easily be found unsubbed online (it only has a couple of VERY brief bits of dialogue) actually feels like a "Wenders film", with his obsessions with rock and roll (Hendrix, Dylan and the Stones all heard for a song or two) and the road, and a bit of very minimal crime-story plot. A man apparently has to go do some dirty work, fails, and comes back to the place where his friends sit around and smoke and listen to music to find them dead. Most of it is shots of city streets and rural roads; it's nicely done and if it doesn't do much on it's own it's an interesting prologue to the later feature work.
As is 3 amerikanische LP's, which has Wenders and frequent collaborator Peter Handke discussing Van Morrison's Astral Weeks , Creedence Clearwater Revival's Green River and Harvey Mandel's Cristo Redentor - all new albums at the time, and their relationship with American landscapes, and German landscapes as the visuals give us the latter. There's also a shot of a fourth LP, Quicksilver Messenger Service's Happy Trails at the beginning, so maybe it would have had a different title if they'd discussed that as well. There's a fair bit of dialogue here and I didn't get it all - may watch it a couple more times - but it's mostly the music and images that matter, and this comes closest of these shorts to what the director's early feature work is about. It's also interesting to me that he puts an album from the Northern Irish Van Morrison in this group, though to be fair the album was recorded in New York; still it makes for an interesting thought - what does "American" mean to a non-American, in this case when thinking about a song or album?
My guess is that these third and fourth shorts aren't widely available because of the music rights, which is too bad. A whole disc of all of Wenders' shorts with commentary would be a cool thing to have.
That's it for me, thanks for hosting Melvelet!