Plunder Road (1957) Ghost Faced Bandits

Plunder Road (1957) - Fiolm Movie poster film noir crime gold robbery

One of the best things about the genre Film Noir is that the majority are fast paced, straight to the point, no frills stories packed into a short run time of nothing much more than 70 odd minutes.  No messing around with pointless story points which distract from the main plot, just wham bam inject me direct into the crime, chase, drama, hit. No dragged out endings, just a quick flash, punch in the face and The End plastered up on the screen and you sit back with a wow, take a deep breath, boom job done. They are the perfect week day evening watch.

Plunder Road (1957) - gold train robbery film noir ghost faced weather men

Plunder Road was no exception. It fired head on, straight into the first act, the crime. A perfectly planned heist of gold from a train in the dead of night against the pouring, lashing rain. This sets up the five players on this mission and focuses on each with a little inner monologue giving a small chunk of their character.

Plunder Road (1957) - film noir gold train robbery rain weather men heist#

The hard driving rain gives these guys the opportunity to wear an awesome and original looking get up disguise. Mackintosh rain coats, a fisherman hat and white stockings over their faces. With the black and white photography and the contrast rain, they look a truly sinister image standing on the railway line.

Plunder Road (1957) - film noir gold train robbery rain weather men heist scaryPlunder Road (1957) - film noir gold train robbery

These five men, lead by Eddie Harris the master mind, are after one thing, 10 million dollars worth of gold bars. This massive amount of gold is to be split up into three different concealed trucks and driven across the state lines. Each leaving some time after the other to see if they can beat the pending road blocks and police searches.

Plunder Road (1957) - getting the bank gold train robbery together

Gene Raymond stars as the head guy “Eddie Harris”. Wayne Morris plays “Commando Munson”, a tough guy always smoking a stogie. Jeanne Cooper is Eddie’s girl, “Fran Werner”. Elisha Cook Jr is “Skeets Jonas”, the family guy and explosives expert. Stafford Repp aka Chief O’Hara from the original Batman plays “Roly Adams”, chewing gum by the bucket load and Steven Ritch is “Frankie Chardo” a former racing car driver. Steven Ritch is also the writer of the screenplay, with Hubert Cornfield on directing duties.

Plunder Road (1957) - film noir gold train robbery police road block

Now the tension rises again as they keep an ear on the police radios and eyes on the long roads. Can they all keep their cool? Can the plan be pulled off with precision and skill. Surely they will all be OK? Hey it’s Film Noir, it can’t be all too easy. Tune in to watch this first-rate thriller, which is at time of writing, on Youtube. 

Not long till my next fix of film. Better get the beers in the fridge and ready those chili dogs. What exciting story will be beamed into my pending eyeballs? What adventure awaits? Pop back if you’re interested and have a look. Keep cool and love film… Mike the Wolf

The Last Run (1971) My Grandad, George C Scott The Getaway Driver

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott soundtrack film movie vinyl record lp score

George C Scott is my Grandad, well he has always reminded me of him, the look and mannerisms make him a close doppelganger. So whenever I get to see George C Scott in a new to me film I can’t help but feel the love for my Grandad.

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver Harry Garmes gun ready for action

The Last Run is a soundtrack in my record collection by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith, among a million scores, the Star Trek franchise has to be his most famous but other examples of his work are Total Recall, Planet Of The Apes and a ton for The Man From Uncle series.

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver 1956 BMW 503 CabrioletThe Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver 1956 BMW 503 Cabriolet scenery landscape

Now The Last Run score might not be a masterpiece by any long shot but I have a great fondness for it. It bubbles with funky moments with full on strings to quick tempo switches to incidental little ditties which feature a local vibe of the European country we get to travel around. It suits the film down to a tee.

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver Harry Garmes look out

George C Scott plays aging Chicago specialist getaway driver Harry Garmes. He’s been out the game for nine years, retiring to a small little fishing village in Portugal. He still loves and maintains his suped up 1956 BMW 503 Cabriolet ready just in case. And guess what our Harry is awoken from his retirement with a new contract, one that involves picking up an escaped convicted killer called Paul Rickard (Tony Mustante). The mission is to take him through Spain to France.

The Last Run (1971) Harry Garmes Tony Mustante

Now Rickard is a cocky arrogant annoyance who makes Harry change the plans so he can pick up his gorgeous sexy girlfriend Claudie Scherrer (Trish Van Devere). Harry and Rickard butt heads together as they both show who’s in charge and Claudie directs them with her womanly charms.

The Last Run (1971) Tony Mustante Trish Van Devere

Tagline – It was his first job in 9 years. Drive a young killer from Spain to the south of France. No one told him about the extra passenger, the girl or the seven men trying to kill them all.

With gangsters after them, a few double crosses and the police from all boarders racing around after them, can our Harry keep his nerve whilst he drives his beloved car around hair bend corners atop of mountains and cliff faces.

The Last Run (1971) car chase

Apparently John Huston was set to direct the film from Scottish screenwriter Alan Sharp who also wrote Night Moves, Rob Roy and Damnation Alley!! Huston had had a run in with George C Scott on the set of The Bible: In the Beginning and did a runner rather than have another bust up I guess. So in came director Richard Fleischer to pick up the baton. He had just completed the amazing Pearl Harbor film Tora Tora Tora.

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver Harry Garmes motor bike policeThe Last Run (1971) Tony Mustante Trish Van Devere george c scott happy families

I really enjoyed this movie but I read it got a lot of heat when it was released. I’m probably biased as I like the soundtrack and my Grandad stars. I feel it could make a good companion piece to the similar European gangster road movie, the superior The Hit with John Hurt.

The Last Run (1971) George C Scott getaway driver close up Harry Garmes

If it’s your thing, The Last Run is worth tracking down for a watch. The mellow intro is on this Youtube link. Keep it all things filmy, Mikey Wolfie

The American Friend (1977) A Cowboy In Hamburg

The American Friend (1977) movie poster film artwork photo Dennis Hopper Bruno Ganz

Haha I was totally oblivious to the fact that The American Friend was another adaptation on the famous psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith about Tom Ripley. It wasn’t until I went to write this post that it all came crashing round me with a “Doh! Wolfy you should of known that” moment.

The con artist extraordinaire Tom Ripley has seen many incarnations from the probably most famous portrayal by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley to the John Malkovich starring Ripley’s Game. I had enjoyed both of these but maybe as they don’t use his surname in The American Friend, could be the reason I didn’t notice.

Now I find out there is an even earlier adaptation from 1960 with Alain Delon making him all French and sexy in directors René Clément version called Purple Noon. Now I need to track this one down.

The American Friend (1977) intro opening scene dennis hopper wim wendersThe American Friend (1977) Bruno Ganz picture framer ripleys game

I was pulled into The American Friend primarily by the amazing cover photo looking like a 70’s Martin Scorsese film cop starring Dennis Hopper and what I first thought was Harvey Keitel. On further investigating I find it was a German production directed by the excellent man with a photographers eye, Wim Wenders. (Paris Texas). A man with an incredible vision. So I find out it was not Mr Keitel that I had first thought I had spied on the cover but Swiss actor Bruno Ganz.

The American Friend (1977) painting dennis hopper wim wenders

Dennis Hopper plays Tom Ripley and the American of the title, “A Cowboy In Hamburg”. He plays his part with a slight innocence, you think he is dodgy but you’re just not sure. Friendly and open but off guard. Strangely for Hopper he is weirdly, well weirdly not too weird and that’s saying something.

The American Friend (1977) drinking together Dennis Hopper Bruno Ganz

Living in Germany, he is involved in forging artworks which get palmed off at auction where he meets a picture framer, family man Jonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz) and starts up a friendship. Meeting at Jonathan framing shop to exchange small gifts and slight banter.

The American Friend (1977) dennis hopper car

It is revealed that Jonathan suffers from a rare blood disease which has numbered his days, he is unfortunately dying. After a chance meeting with a French criminal called Raoul Minot (Gérard Blain) he is persuaded to travel to Paris to carry out a “hit” on a rival gangster in the underground metro system. This hit would earn him money for his family before he dies or maybe the hope that a doctor could tell him how long he has left, reluctantly, he takes on the contract.

The American Friend (1977) Bruno Ganz paris metro tube underground

What unravels is a complex story as Jonathan is placed in bizarre situations with a host dangerous people, friends and his loving wife, as he tries to come to terms with his medical condition.

The American Friend (1977) Bruno Ganz Lisa Kreuzer record deck music vinylThe American Friend (1977) Bruno Ganz Lisa Kreuzer

Can Jonathan find peace with his son and wife Marianne (Lisa Kreuzer who played Ingrid in the excellent Radio On). Can he understand his friendship with Tom, stay ahead of the gangsters and most importantly can he find out what’s wrong with him!

The American Friend (1977) dennis hopper reel to reel tape machine

I really enjoyed this film, from all the set pieces, especially loved the 70’s Paris metro footage. Just following Jonathan’s journey as he travels across Europe and back home to Germany was very gripping as you feel so much for the character. The filming, as you can imagine is fantastic from Wim Wenders. The talented director gives what I could maybe describe as some kind of hybrid of Nu-Wave meets Film Noir but hey what do I know!

The American Friend (1977) american director Samuel Fuller

Random Wolfy Observations Big time director Samuel Fuller, The Big Red One, Shock Corridor pops up as an American mobster. As well as a collection of other directors which I’m afraid I didn’t recognise, one being Nicholas Ray.

There’s also a nice little nod to a certain iconic biker movie when Dennis Hopper gets to mention the words “Easy Rider

The American Friend (1977) beach ambulance

Have you seen it? What did you think? If you haven’t seen it, I can very much recommend you giving it a go.

Keep your eyes on the screens, sit back and scoff the popcorn and guzzle the beer. Have fun and enjoy the films…… Mikey the Wolfman

Scorpio (1973) Cold War With The Reverend Tom Jones!

Scorpio (1973) movie film poster artwork spies cold war burt lancaster alain delon

Been rinsing the Burt Lancaster films this week with three in a row. First up was Go Tell The Spartans followed by Atlantic City. Now I got the chance to watch the Cold War antics of two hit-men in director Michael Winner’s spies and espionage thriller Scorpio.

Tagline – The most incredible manhunt of them all!

Scorpio (1973) Intro title movie film burt lancaster

Burt Lancaster plays the aging agent Cross, who might of gone rogue, maybe a double agent but for sure he’s a pain in the ass for the CIA. Cross has been training up a young protege, French hit-man Jean Laurier with the code name, Scorpio. He’s played by Alain Delon with a slight quirk, the stone cold killer has a fondness for street cats, not ladies of the night? but the fluffy feline variety.

Scorpio (1973) alain delon street cat lover

Tagline – When Scorpio wants you… there is no place to hide!

Now I’m a massive Cold War fan, been brought up on George Smiley running The Circus in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People and the likes of Harry Palmer, Number 6 and all the spies trying to get out of the cold. So this film should of hit all the right notes for me but sadly something was missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Scorpio (1973) jet planespies cold war burt lancaster alain delon

One things for sure, they pull out all the stops, double agent’s, traitors, controllers, CIA double crossing, back stabbing, informers, KGB agents, secret squirrels and even disguises. Burt Lancaster as The Reverend Tom Jones!

Scorpio (1973) spies cold war burt lancaster tom jones

Maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was the introduction to so many characters and plot devices. It could of been the relationship between master and student wasn’t pulled off as well as it could of been?  It certainly wasn’t our Burt’s fault as he was his usual charismatic self.

Scorpio (1973) spy cold war chase scene alain DelonScorpio (1973) spy cold war chase scene burt lancaster 2

I don’t know but don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the film and man I tell you the chase scene is well worth the wait.  It’s fast-paced, frantic and totally furious. Set in a decapitated building site with crumbling concrete and fallen timber, rubble strewn across every where, when it starts you get the chase which starts your heart pumping. Awesome score from Jerry Fielding to accompany the action as guns are fired and our stars throw themselves off ladders and walls into dirty dusty pits. Burt, with his hobby of gymnastics, does all his own stunts and some of them you gotta say, must of hurt!

Scorpio (1973) spy cold war chase scene burt lancaster

So who’s the goody and who’s the baddie? Who’s gonna take the hit or give out the hit? Is there ever any winners or losers in the art of cold war? Tune in to find out or have you seen it? The more I think about it whilst doing this post the more I liked it. Whats your thoughts?

Scorpio (1973) spy cold war burt lancaster 2

Keep watching the screens, have fun. Mikey Wolfman.

Scorpio (1973) Roger Ebert’s Review From 1973

Scorpio (1973) IMDb

The Mountain (1956) Brotherly Love

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy robert wagner film poster movie artwork

The Mountain has a quality to it that makes you want to simultaneously grab one character, Christopher Teller (Robert Wagner) and slowly but repeatedly punch him in head while on the other hand you want to grab Zachary Teller (Spencer Tracy) and give the guy a big bear hug and a warm smile.

The Mountain (1956) robert wagner moody smoking

Chris Teller aka Dr Evils Number Two in Austin Powers spends all his time strutting around the small village with his 50’s quiff, moaning and sulking and getting drunk whilst throwing his toys out of his pram. Desperate to escape the quiet life he has been brought into, he takes his frustration out on his only family, his much older brother. Mild mannered Zachary is more of a father figure to Chris after bringing him up since he was born.

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy advice to climb the mountian

On the other hand, content and happy with his life as a shepherd, a proud Zachary lives in the family home which has housed the Tellers for a many generations. A well loved man within the small community, he is at one with nature, god and even has a lady admirer who wants to look after him.

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy the mountain peaks dangerous

They live at the foot of a colossal mountain which Zachary only knows too well. He has been climbing the mountain since a young boy, no one has the experience he has but after an unexpected accident he has come to terms that the mountain doesn’t want him to climb it anymore and is at one with this decision.

Tagline – IT FILLS THE SCREEN with Excitement and Suspense!

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy robert wagner ready to climb

Unfortunately a passenger plane crashes at the top mountain. A first rescue mission is sent to see if there are survivors but quickly gets into trouble just as Zachary had said. It was just too difficult a climb, not to mention the ever changing weather.

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy robert wagner climbing the rock faceThe Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy clinging to the rock face

The conniving little sod Chris wants to pillage the bodies for their riches to be able to escape the village and forces Zachary out of retirement through guilt to help him climb. Zachary only knows too well that if he didn’t his brother would be sure to die.  But maybe somewhere deep inside the old man there was one last climb to close the bond between man and mountain.

The Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy scenery snow mountains rocksThe Mountain (1956) Spencer Tracy the mountain peaks dangerous rope pulling

The colour print is gorgeous and I liked the slow pacing and build up to the climb. Only recently I had the chance to watch Bad Day at Black Rock and Spencer Tracey stole the show as he does in this. To be honest I haven’t seen many of his films but I do have Adam’s Rib to watch soon. Heard there’s much love for that film.

The Mountain is available at the time of posting on Netflix UK.

Further Reading Links

The Mountain (1956) IMDB

Bosley Crowther 1956 review for The Mountain The New York Times

Atlantic City (1980) Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster movie film poster artwork screen shot photo

Well let’s get the elephant out the room first. Susan Sarandon plays Sally, she has a strange ritual, she stands in the kitchen, slices a lemon and squeezes the juice into her hands and proceeds to rub said lemony zest all over her body, including her fine, fine puppies. And there isn’t a gin in tonic in sight! Well one thing that is in sight if she would of looked up is the admiring eyes of old man Burt Lancaster. He plays Lou and now he has a glint in his eye.

Atlantic City (1980) - Susan Sarandon Sally lemon juice boobsAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster peeping tom lemon boobies scene

They are neighbors in the same broken down apartment block in the crumbling dead end city. A place famous for it wooden Boardwalk and colourful characters from yesteryear. Some infamous prohibition era gangsters like Al Capone, Nucky Johnson, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel all recently brought back to life by the excellent HBO show Boardwalk Empire.

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster running the books numbers

Now old Lou is a small time wheeler and dealer who had grown up in the shadow of bigger men. Name dropping the gangsters above through-out the film. I imagine he would of been a young boy watching the hoods doing their thing but keeping a low profile, happy to reside in the background picking up what he can, keeping out of trouble.

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Grace (Kate Reid)

Now he spends time running a few numbers for a local racketeer and mostly caring for the needs of Grace (Kate Reid) a former mob girl but now invalid and annoying chore giver to our poor Lou. What he needs is a distraction!

Atlantic City (1980) - HippiesAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Dave (Robert Joy)
In walks two extremely irritating and troublesome hippies. Pregnant Chrissie (Hollis McLaren) and Dave (Robert Joy) who has in his procession a big bag of cocaine. He wants to shift it quick for some cash and ropes in Lou who seems only too happy to help. Little does he know that the weasel had stolen it from a drug drop, upsetting two psycho gangsters.
Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Susan Sarandon gangsterAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Susan Sarandon dining
Lou see it as a way to impress and get closer to Sally. Flash some cash and makes some moves. There’s life in the old dog yet? So Lou becomes drug dealer, carer and ladies man. Can he keep the pace?

Filmed by French director Louis Malle, a director I really need to explore. His My Dinner with Andre sounds like a deep watch and is on the watch list.

Atlantic City (1980) - Susan Sarandon Sally casino work
Can Lou find his old mojo and get some vitality? Will he be able to steer clear of the gangsters? Can Sally escape this dying city and get to follow her dream of travelling to France. And most importantly, why does she clean her fun buddies with lemon juice?

You really need to tune in to find out. Its a super film and I’m very grateful to Mikes Take On The Movies for the tip top recommendation.

Atlantic City (1980) - moving car port lift automatic car park

Random Wolfy Observations – Apart from the lemon boobs, WTF was that moving car port lift thing? That was crazy and surely way ahead of it’s time. First time I saw one of those had Ethan Hunt fighting on one in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Also would of loved to have seen Lou team up with his toilet assistant friend Buddy.

Here’s a review by Vincent Canby from 1981 in The New York Times.

Thanks for having a read. All the best from the wolfster.

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) Skirmishes, Ambushes And Booby Traps

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) movie poster film artwork burt lancaster vietnam war

This was a great surprise! Was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Thought it be OK but had it chalked down as a low budget Vietnam war film, most probably by the numbers. It’s was getting late, I’ll watch the first hour to see if I like it. Two hours later I’m going to bed at way past midnight and up for work at 5.30, oopft I was mashed up but worth it especially when I saw these three classics pop up ……..

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) vietnam war explosion

James Hong aka Lo Pan from Big Trouble In Little China and freaky eyeball specialist Hannibal Chew from Blade Runner and also Evan C. Kim aka Loo from A Fistful Of Yen (The Kentucky Fried Movie). Not only that he also did the voice for Mercury in the Space Sentinels. Plus Marc Singer aka Mike Donovan from sci-fi classic V stars too. Damn man I nearly lost my shit…

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) cowboy vietnam Evan C Kim 2Go Tell the Spartans (1978) James Hong Cpl. Stephen Courcey

Geek out over, back to the movie. This low budget gem hits all those sweet spots. Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster stars, strutting around at 64 years old with a real limp from a dodgy knee. He gets to fire off so many brilliant lines and tells a story so good that you could turn up to any bachelor party, in any land and smash out that punchline, turn around, pick up your hat and walk into the night a total legend.

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) burt lancaster vietnam war asa barkerGo Tell the Spartans (1978) vietnam war helicopter dust blown up soldiers

Tagline – We’re getting strafed, shelled, bombed and blasted. And it isn’t even our damned war!

Burt plays Major Asa Barker, a field specialist and veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He is put in charge of a rag tag bunch of real misfits. We’ve seen them all before but they got a good bunch of quirks in this outfit. You got the classic war damaged Sgt. Oleonowski, an opium addict medic going by the name Cpl. Abraham Lincoln, wise talking communication officer Signalman Toffee. Then you get a translation expert Vietnamese local and total psychopath action machine, Cowboy.

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) Evan C. Kim jungle attack vietnam war

Plus throw in a rookie Lt. Raymond Hamilton upgraded to Captain, who runs around with the constant squits and an itching for action to add some medals to his uniform, Capt. Alfred Olivetti. And last but not least, drafter demolition expert Cpl. Stephen Courcey .

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) Sgt Oleonowski Lt Raymond Hamilton

Major Asa Barker – “Sign him up to clap patrol”

Major Asa wonders “Why he’s drafted himself? no one drafts here”  This Vietnam story is set at the beginning of the war before the main cluster Fuc took over. So to draft yourself in was a rare event before the recruitment push later on. After the French army had been caught out by the hidden strength of the Viet Cong the Americans come in to assist the South Vietnamese against the communist North Vietnamese. Basically just another proxy Cold War pissing contest which caused a million deaths!

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) vietnam war battle front attackGo Tell the Spartans (1978) scar viet cong war vietnam vetran

Major Asa Barker “Are you sure we’re not in a loony bin? Sometimes I think we’re in a goddamn loony bin!”

Directed by Ted Post who was responsible for the most bonkers addition to the Planet of the Apes film series with underground city run by telepathic humans plus he also got to direct Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Magnum Force.

Go Tell the Spartans (1978) burt lancaster vietnam war asa barker 2

If you like a good war film I thoroughly recommend giving this a go, it really has it it all.

Major Asa Barker – “My command is spread thinner than the hairs of a baby’s ass!”

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) Jiving Disc Jockey Sleaze Shocker

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Poster art work movie film Sal mineo

Sexy friendly disc jockey Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) spins the dance tunes for the punters at the nightclub she works. Dropping jiving, hip swinging records for the happy drunks dancing and twisting the night hours away. She’s a nice popular girl who gets attention from a few admirers and looked after by the Manhattan nightclub boss Marian Freeman (Elaine Stritch).

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - disc jockey club dj 60s Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse)Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - sexy phone Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse)

Unfortunately for our Norah, one admirer takes things to another level and begins to phone her in the early hours of the night. Starting to stalk the young girl whilst lounging around in his briefs, freaking the poor lass out. After a few nights of being harassed she gets in contact with the police who sends out Lt. Dave Madden (Jan Murray) an obsessed stalking specialist who takes his work home with him.

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) Dave Madden (Jan Murray)Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - sal hand pants underware telephone

Tagline – Why with everybody else…. Why with every slob… And not with me?

Now at Norah’s work there’s a few suspects, a rude obnoxious customer who keeps pestering her and a large deaf club bouncer called Carlo (Daniel J Travanti) who keeps an eye out for her. And then there’s a young waiter who nervously wanders around her. This guy is Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) and sadly Lawrence has a pretty messed up family life and cares for his mentally challenged sister Edie (Margot Bennett) who was brain damaged as a child. He looks after her and works the nights before spending the rest of the evening brooding and sweating in his underwear!

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) swimmingWho Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) Edie (Margot Bennett)

This film really knows how to hit out the controversial subjects and to be honest I don’t think anything gets left unturned. This sixties film went all out to shock in this psychological thriller. It might be shocking but it’s also extremely well played out and acted. The black and white camera angle shots are superb, giving it a lush Film Noir feel. Especially the 60’s New York scenes as Lawrence Sherman runs throughout the bright lights, big city, sleazy Soho peepshows, sex shops and porno movie theatres trying to relieve that caught up frustration.

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) peepshows

It’s really no mystery who the telephone stalker is as it’s obvious from the get go but that isn’t the whole story. Where can this film go, how far will people go to help our DJ Norah? Is the Lieutenant on the case? Can he work it out or is he too far engrossed in the case details? And more importantly can Norah teach some of her special dance moves to the non movers?

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) dancing teaching movesWho Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo)

Norah Dain – “There are some things a girl prefers to pick out herself. And high on the list, right underneath lipstick, is a bed partner.”

Recommended by my friend Weegee, this one hit all the right notes for me. Short and to the point, shocking and well acted plus features a good selection of 60’s groove music. With the title and end theme tune totally smashing it, Who Killed Teddy Bear, I read is sung by uncredited Rita Dyson and it’s a delightful beautiful song

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - dancing jivin swinging groovin

The film is directed by Joseph Cates who I see on IMDB went off on a different direction, to produce a whole heap of television entertainment from the likes of Steve Martin comedy specials to Johnny Cash Christmas specials to David Copperfield magic shows.

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) - dancing jivin swinging groovin jazz dance

Here’s the film in full on Youtube ready to be enjoyed. Pack you whistle to blast down the phone if it rings, oil up those dancing hips and shut your blinds!

Enjoy….. Mikey Wolfman


Cover version of Who Killed Teddy Bear by Josie Cotton

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) IMDB

Orion’s Belt (1985) Norwegian Cold War

Orion's Belt (1985) Poster film artwork photo dvd movie cinemaMuch like last month’s Ground Zero took a real life story and mixed it with a batch of fiction to amp up the drama.

Orion’s Belt is based on factual happenings in the Svalbard regions of Norway where the games of Cold War were being played out between Russia, America and the UK. Real brinkmanship shenanigans, with Norway, and their scandinavian friends, sat right in the middle like the stars in Orion’s Belt.

Orion's Belt (1985) opening title screen shot movie film

The story is an adaptation from a 1977 Nordic crime thriller novel written by Jon Michelet. It’s adventure starts with a three Norwegian salty sea dogs, wheeler and dealer fisherman who are always looking for a way to make a few krone. This involves doing a dodgy little insurance scam with a bulldozer. With orders to dump the machinery into the sea to claim the insurance money by pretending they are hit by a storm losing the bulldozer overboard. Then they decide to sell it, doubling their money.

Orion's Belt (1985) Tom Jansen - Lars and Sverre - skipper the dogOrion's Belt (1985) fisherman russian bucket

This leads them to ship further out in the Norwegian Sea where they hit a real storm forcing them to go ashore on a small island to find supplies. Now this is where it all goes tits up, when they find a large cable running across the land into a cave system. With money signs flashing around their eyes with the thought of selling the wire cable as scrap they follow it’s path till they hit their problem. It’s a manned secret Russian listening post……..

Orion's Belt (1985) russian helicopter attack norway film

And these Russians aren’t too happy to have their secret listening base discovered! Coming after them on helicopters as the guys make their frantic escape, all hell breaks loose.

Tagline – What can one man do against the most lethal army on Earth?… Live to tell the truth!

The three fishermen are Tom Jansen (Helge Jordal), Lars (Sverre Anker Ousdal) and Sverre (Hans Ola Sørlie). Oh and how can I forget! Skipper the sea dog. Can they survive the Russian army and evade capture? Can they outrun the helicopter on their trusty boat? Can this incident be covered up before Cold War tensions get too high?

Orion's Belt (1985) fisherman dingy boat bunker listening post

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which when the action pieces hit the screen, you will be on the edge of your seat. It thrilling and exciting and the Svalbard settings are absolutely fantastic. Definitely one for your “watch list” notepad. Or have you seen it? What did you think?

Fascinating Fact –  This film was filmed twice in dual-language by two different directors, Ola Solum and Tristan DeVere Cole. Solum filmed in Norwegian and then after each scene Cole resumed the same scenes but this time the actors spoke English. I was expecting a dubbed version when I sat down to watch it. For a few minutes I was convinced it was some of the best dubbing ever lol.

Orion's Belt (1985) cold war action drama film movie

Further Reading

Orion’s Belt (1985) Wiki Info

Cold War Sites Of Norway

What’s Been Watched This Month – May 2017

Whats been watched 2

I do like a list, even a late list! Here’s what has been watched in May 2017.

Twins Peaks return has dominated this month’s television schedule. So good to have Agent Cooper back, well of sorts. Sure his cherry pie loving days will be back in full effect soon.

Other television shows on the watch list have been American Gods and my absolute favorite Better Call Saul.

23 films this month and a total of 122 since the start of the blog in January.

Vigilante (1983) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.6
Fred Williamson and Robert Forster smash up bad guys. Wolfie write up here

Beach Red (1967) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 6.4
Cornel Wilde drops another directed, produced and starred in film to follow up his The Naked Prey…. Wolfie write up here

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 8.1
Great to be whisked off into the galaxy with the gang Star-lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket again. Not as brilliant as the first but still I had well too fun and I probably enjoyed it more than the whole family hehe.

Shock Corridor (1963) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.5
Damn I was transfixed with the reporter’s journey through the nut house. Another top class Samuel Fuller film. Wolfie write up here

After Hours (1985) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 7.7
I so remember this one on the video rental shelves but weirdly never seen it. How could I take so long to see to a Martin Scorsese film? It was great fun surreal film.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.2
Oh my I loved this film. Three very different and each superb in their own right performances. Just brilliant.  Wolfie write up here

Coffy (1973) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 6.9
Pam Grier’s big bouncing boobies – Nuff said…  Wolfie write up here

Hard Times (1975) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 7.4
Charles Bronson and Walter Hill – Nuff said!  Wolfie write up here

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 7.2
Perfect fall in from the pub totally intoxicated film fun and frolics.  I saw this go up on the excellent blog cracked rear viewer and had to see it. Vincent Price is such a gem as always

The Passenger (1975) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 7.6
This ticks all the right boxes of what I love in a film. Super performance from the always trusty Jack Nicholson.  But something just didn’t gel for me. I can’t put my finger on it! The settings and camera shots are incredible. Having been there it was wonderful to see architect Antoni Gaudi Casa Mila roof on film.  I really want to know why it didn’t hit me as good as I had expected? Actually the more I think about it the more I liked it. A grower.

The Exterminating Angel (1962) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 8.2
Seen some absolutely cracking movies this month and this piece of brilliance is way up the top of the list.  Wolfie write up here

Take the Money and Run (1969) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.3
Marvelous goofball screwball slapstick and visual gags galore from Woody Allen.

The Lineup (1958) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.4
Thrill ride of a film noir crime drama starring Eli Wallach as a twisted up bad guy. Really enjoyed this.. Wolfie write up here

Nightfall (1956) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.3
A superb film noir drama with another great performance from Aldo RayWolfie write up here

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 8.1
My daughter and I are very big Wes Anderson fans but strangely hadn’t got round to this one yet. No idea why! Ralph Fiennes and his love of the GILF’s was hilarious. Another incredible film which I look forward to watching again very soon. Can’t wait for the Isle Of Dogs next year.

Hell Is for Heroes (1962) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7
Filling in Don Siegel movie blanks gets me to tick off this world war two movie with Steve McQueen, James Coburn, singer Bobby Darin and in a debut role comedian Bob Newhart. A most excellent film.

Ground Zero (1987) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 6.6
Cold War horror in the Australian heat…..  Wolfie write up here

Mindhorn – Wolfman Rating 6.5 – IMDB Rating 6.4
The Mighty Boosh Julian Barratt and Horrible Histories Simon Farnaby write and star in this madcap comedy. The idea hits every right note for me but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

The Shootist (1976) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.7
The Shootist best line from John Wayne “make like that’s a nipple” then shoves a gun in a rustlers face. This was recommended by the excellent Mike’s Take On The Movies. What a swan song to out on. I need to do a post one day. Darn work gets in the way of all the fun!

The Steel Helmet (1951) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.6
Cutest kid ever. Slowly working my way through Samuel Fuller’s movies and this one didn’t disappoint. Gene Evans as the gruff sergeant Zack was an excellent character.

Truck Turner (1974) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 7
Isaac Hayes smashes and funks up the place. Wolfie write up here

The Killing (1956) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 8
Stanley Kubrick directs this masterpiece film noir drama.

The Cassandra Crossing (1976) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.4
This is what weekend matinee at home were made for, the 70’s disaster movie.

Any goodies you like the look of or have seen?

Eating my way through too much cherry pie and drinking damn fine cups of coffee whilst working my way through June’s film selections.

Till next time, keep cool, keep watching the screen. Be seeing you