Gumshoe (1971)

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This sounded incredible from the description and I pushed it up my “to watch list” and stuck it on the box last night.

Nightclub bingo caller and standup comedian, if he can get some stage time, also dreams up the idea of being a private eye detective. Starring Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley, he puts an advert in the paper and receives his first job, a mysterious package from The Fat Man, filled with cash, photos, addresses and a gun!

Tagline – Ginley’s a gumshoe. Ginley’s got guts. Ginley’s got a gun.

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“I can still enjoy sex at 74 – I live at 75, so it’s no distance.” – Bob Monkhouse

It has blackmail, murder, a hitman, femme fatales, love triangle, deceit. Set to the backdrop of a dark and gloomy backstreets of Liverpool and London in the early 70’s it really does sound right up my street.

Tagline – Who runs this ruthless power game with blackmail, violence – and murder?

gumshoe-1971-fat-man-and-eddieMany of the problems I came across for me was struggling with the confusing plot and if I’m honest the back and forth of Eddie Ginley’s Liverpool accent one moment and then film Noir dialect the next, imagine a Humphrey Bogart style, “Here’s looking at you kid” “Play it again Sam” It may of been down to my late viewing but to be frank I just don’t think it worked for me in my honest opinion.

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In Too Deep? Nice cup of Rosie Lee will sort that

By far worst of all was how racist the language got. Honestly you expect it in some films of this era and nature and it doesn’t really bother me but this was quite relentless in places and I can imagine how it must effect it chances to be shown on the telly nowadays.

gumshoe-1971-eddie-and-hitman-strakerBig plus points in the film though were all the scenes between Eddie and the Scottish hitman Straker played by Fulton Mackay (Porridge). I liked the mystery of the South African Fat Man De Fries (George Silver).

Also the Broadway Club scenes were ace with the saxophone jazz owner Tommy (Bill Dean). Ellen’s (Billie Whitelaw) sports car is sweet beyond belief, a beautiful white Lotus Europa. You also get a bunch of ladies that all could compete for who’s going to be the Femme Fatale?

Actually more I write and think about it the better I feel about this film.

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Broadway Club and the Lotus Europa

Tagline – the sleuth, the whole sleuth and nothing but the sleuth

British television viewers will be thrilled to see young stars like Wendy Richard, Maureen Lipman and Billie Whitelaw giving off feisty dialogue lead banter in parts throughout the film. And Oscar James aka Tony Carpenter from Eastenders.

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Maureen Lipman flirting in the library

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Wendy Richard flirty in the office.

This is the directing debut of Stephen Frears who has made countless excellent films like my favourites The Hit and The Grifters, High Fidelity to name but a few. It was written by Neville Smith who also has a small role as Arthur.

Now my twisted mind would of liked the film to have all been in his head. Because it starts at the beginning with Eddie visiting his psychiatrist and I was hoping for a reveal that he is in fact quite mad and maybe seen him in a straightjacket in hospital. But I understand it would’ve been a bit dark hehe.

So I had mixed feelings about this film but felt compelled to post about it and doing so has made me appreciate it a whole lot more than I did last night. So thats a Wolfie bonus.

Further Reading Links

New York Times Review 1972

Gumshoes (1971) WIKI

Gumshoe (1971) IMDB

Marathon Movie Night Munchies

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Nothing beats chilling down to a good movie marathon than the companion of a gallon of beer and a mountain of Memphis pork ribs and French fries. Add to that a jar of the Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce “The Sauce Is The Boss” to slop all over the plate and you are in business for a tasty times. Yep shit just just got real! HOOOOOwwwwWL

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Music to bump your rump and shake your maracas at whilst cooking up your feast goes to Brother Jack McDuff – Hot Barbecue on Prestige Records. Movin and groovin.

Flashpoint (1984)

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After spending way too much time driving along the black top for thousands of miles sat sweating in his truck stuck in a convey. Our Kris Kristofferson changed his silly name from Rubber Duck to Bobby Logan and became a Texas border guard.

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He’s partnered up with his good buddy Ernie Wyatt (Treat Williams) and love nothing more than getting totally trashed on sour mash and beer. These guys are tight, inseparable and have got each others backs.

Bobby –  You’re the only man I know who can screw up his own wet dream.

Whilst out on border control duties in the vast dust bowl of the desert Bobby stumbles upon a buried jeep. Deciding to dig it out he finds a skeleton and a holdall containing a stash of cash amounting to a grand sum of 800 hundred thousand dollars.

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Tagline – A wrecked jeep…. A skeleton…. A rifle… $800,000 dollars in cash

Ernie is a stand up guy with integrity and good morals and Bobby is a no nonsense kind of dude who just wants to take this chance to start a new life. First they have to find out where all that money has come from. With a series of investigations they discover that the dosh and body have been buried there for 20 odd years. Surely by now it has to be forgotten about, lost for good and ripe for the taking?

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Now we’ve all seen the films, no good plan involving money ever goes simple. So in comes the Feds tracking down anyone who has connection to the money. Lead by Agent Carson played by the ever shifty looking geezer Kurtwood Smith (12.01pm). These guys don’t let up in their investigations and it’s not long before our two heroes are on the run and wondering what they have managed to get themselves involved with.

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Other players along the way are, Sheriff Wells, played by the wonderful named Rip Torn. Two random love interests Ellen (Tess Harper) and Doris (Jean Smart). Plus keep an eye for Old Man Marley the snow shoveling neighbour from Home Alone, the old and wiley bearded Roberts Blossom who plays a character called Amarillo.

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Rocking along at a great pace this 80’s action drama is filled with excitement and some mystery. The vast desert landscapes and rocky ledges give a unique touch to this.

Also the soundtrack by German electronic collective Tangerine Dream gives the movie a nice atmospheric ambient electronica touch which really works with many of the moody scenes. The end movie credits song though by The Gems is real gawd darn bad! What were they thinking of?  hehe

Tangerine Dream – Dirty Cross Roads

If it’s brings back memories or giving you a heads up to a film you may not of heard of, that’s what this blog is all about. Let me know if you wish too. Happy viewing. Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Flashpoint (1984) IMDB

New York Times Flashpoint Review August 1984

Roger Ebert Review

Doodlebug (1997)

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Here’s is one of Christopher Nolan’s first short films called Doodlebug from 1997 which clocks in at an epic three minutes, well actually it’s a little under. But the director still manages to throw enough crazy ass shit at the screen in this super low budget film. Paranoia, panic, frustration and obsession and even a Twilight Zone twist in it’s ridiculous short run time. It’s really very good.

Starring Jeremy Theobald, this feels like a nice little warm up to the debut film, the dark and intriguing film noir 1998 film Following where the actor and director would work together again. Very recommended film if you haven’t seen it before.

Great to see where directors start to develop their skills. From humble beginnings to the crazy mega bucks in blockbusters. Like the up and coming World War II film I really can’t wait to see on the big screen in July this year, Dunkirk. That surely is going to be epic.  Like all his films you just know they are gonna be intelligent well thought out pieces of art.

Here’s Doodlebug. Enjoy

Nice to see his brother Jonathan credited as grip! He only went on and made probably my most favorite series ever, well along with Noah Hawley’s Fargo, the remake of my beloved 1973 Yul Brynner malfunctioning robot film the classic Westworld.

The brothers make such an incredible team.

Watch out for that shoe! Mikey Wolfman

PS – If you like this then your like this too Room 8

Radio On (1979)

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I was hooked right from the get go when the typewriter letters started hitting the screen as the intro credits started over the soundtrack to David Bowie’s “Heroes“. Lush black and white photography panning out around an apartment flat going from room to room. Radio On is a British road movie looking like a German art house film. It’s no accident it looks that way as the camera work is done by Martin Schäfery and associate produced by Wim Wenders (Paris Texas) and even stars Wim’s girlfriend at the time Lisa Kreuzer . It’s seems the production was a joint venture between the UK and West Germany.

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Adding to this UK and German connection are a few other things, the soundtrack with Kraftwerk, features very heavily throughout and there’s this curious handwritten message. At the beginning the camera focuses onto a bedroom wall filled with posters and memorabilia and centers on this mysterious note. . That’s got to be on the back of a Kraftwerk LP cover hasn’t it?

We are the children of Fritz Lang and Werner Von Braun. We are the link between the Twenties and the Eighties. All change in society passes through a sympathetic collaboration with tape recorders, synthesizers and telephones. Our reality is an electronic reality.

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The film is directed by Christopher Petit and set in 1970s. Our “hero” Robert, played by David Beames, finds out his brother has died and takes to his Rover P4. Travelling from Ilford, London to Bristol listening to music as he takes in the somber road trip meeting a series of odd people along the way.

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The movie is a series of moody long lingering shots of broken landscapes of high rise flats and council estates, panned out shots of the car driving and then transports you into the back of the car looking out the windscreen, watching the motorway falling beneath whilst music plays on the radio.

Wim Wenders – “One of those true pioneering films… Chris Petit reinvented the road movie for England”

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Radio, of the title, is featured constantly during the runtime of the film. Robert is a radio disc jockey for a local broadcaster. Slices of news reports filter in alongside mundane tones of the football scores. Car stereos and cassette tapes, a chance meeting with a musician. Music and radio waves are a strong part of this independent feature.

As are moody, bleak and quiet thoughtful gazing into the void! Contemplating, mourning and more staring, out of a window, in a pub with a pint, on a bridge or just sat in a car.

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It does all sound so depressing and to be honest it is but it also quite brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What surprised me the most is how modern it all looks. It’s 1979 but it really could be now! I believe it’s down to the black and white print but also it could be down to the fashions. Nobody wears anything too stuck to the era, apart from when Robert goes out on the town with his teddy boy jacket.

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For some eye candy and maybe some much needed light relief you get a chance meeting with a girl called Ingrid played by Lisa Kreuzer. Getting a few lifts in Robert’s car and sitting chatting about her daughter and life.

Here is that car, The Rover P4 a 50’s mid-size luxury saloon. I have to say it looked beautiful. Here’s a few pictures of it.

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I loved this film, it hit all the right notes for me. One of those rare little gems that when you unearth them you can’t stop thinking about. If you think this one might be for you I hope you can track it down for a viewing. Plus if you like music it’s like an big music video, featuring artists like Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Devo, Robert Fripp and Ian Dury.

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Fun Fact – Another case of German influence was in the form of graffiti on a wall stating to “Free Astrid Proll” Intrigued by this name I have found out she was an imprisoned member of the Red Army Faction or Baader-Meinhof Gang. Check her story it’s really interesting. Link at bottom of page.

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Happy viewing and thanks for reading…..  Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Radio On (1979) IMDB

“Free Astrid Proll” WIKI 

Screenonline BFI Radio On

Brewster McCloud (1970)

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The vinyl record soundtrack OST

As oddball movies go this, Brewster McCloud, is hard to beat. Director Robert Altman’s bonkers avian comedy fantasy farce is a surreal series of events centered around our hero, the boy who must fly, Brewster McCloud.

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Brewster looping some dope beats

Brewster played by Bud Cort (Harold and Maude) is a misfit and loner living in a giant astrodome. Obsessed with his destiny calling to build wings and fly away.  Training himself daily by doing hundreds of pull ups and eating a bird related diet, he takes his mission very seriously.

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The very sexy guardian angel Sally Kellerman

He is watched over by a beautiful lady dressed in only a raincoat.  A guardian angel called Louise (Sally Kellerman) who is always on hand to keep Brewster safe from harm. Oh how I wish I could be bathed by her whilst she sings the “rockabye baby” lullaby to me!

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“Check out my deep blue eyes” “Oh sorry I’ll have an A1 please”

Anyone who gets in our bird boys way finds themselves meeting their maker. This starts with getting bird pooped on. This fate only comes to real nasty racists, bigots and bullies. The collection of unsolved crimes brings in the Det. Lt. Frank Shaft played by Michael Murphy (Phase IV) to help solve the crimes. Now I thought they were riffing on Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft with his character, like a white Shaft, being cool and wearing turtleneck jumpers and colour coordinated gun holsters. It’s just a coincidence though as the film Shaft was made a year later 1971. On reading more I find it was a homage to Steve McQueen and Bullitt.

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Brewster and Suzanne aka the Waldo Twins

Now to be perfectly honest it doesn’t really matter that the story is pretty nutty.  Just sit back and enjoy the chaotic madcap nonsense, slapstick fun and let the lunacy prevail. Here’s a few notes on what to expect.

Tagline – This may be over your head

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Rene Auberjonois plays the nutty lecturer.

The Wicked Witch of the West Margaret Hamilton singing Star Spangled Banner out of tune. Loads of Wizard Of Oz references are dotted throughout. Shelley Duvall enormous eyelashes, a ridiculous fun car chase, a nutty narrating bird professor. Where’s Waldo or Where’s Wally, depending where you live in the world. An orgasming girl! A brilliantly choreographed hide and seek chase through the astrodome with Brewster and a chubby security guard. An awesome 1970 Plymouth Road Runner and tons of visual gags to keep you entertained on this crazy movie trip. Oh and  Stacy Keach as an old man!

Frank Shaft – “get that turtle outta here!”

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1970 Plymouth Road Runner

Oh the soundtrack by composer Gene Page is pretty great too. I loved this little piece of music by John Phillips Called Promise Not To Tell which appears half way through. I need to hear that in full.

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Road trip with the Virgin Mary, Brewster and Suzanne

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A whole heap of bird poop with all the players

Further Reading Links

Brewster McCloud (1970) IMDB

Brewster McCloud (1970) WIKI

Roger Ebert Brewster McCloud Review 

What’s Been Watched This Month – Jan 2017

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I do like a list. Here’s what has been watched in January 2017, the first month of this blog. When you look at it like that it’s fair few films!

With my Wolfy rating next to the IMDB one. I try to do my rating before I see the IMDB ones. They are surprisingly close, bar a few, that either blew my mind or that I enjoyed on fun factor alone .

Crack In The World (1965)  Wolfy Rating 6.5    IMDB Rating 6.1
Watched this New Years night after everyone gone to bed. It’s on Netflix and just raised above a B-Movie. Good fun sci-fi film.

On the Waterfront (1954)  Wolfy Rating 7.5    IMDB Rating 8.2
Can’t believe it took me this long to watch this classic Marlon Brando. I really enjoyed this.

Morituri (1965)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB Rating 7
I was absorbed with this one. Wolfy write up here

Deep Water Horizon (2016)  Wolfy Rating 7.5    IMDB 7.2
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg team up again for this real life disaster film. Once you get past the cheesy beginning it all kicks off when they reach the rig. Amazing special effects.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB 7.2
Really enjoyed this dialogue driven disaster film. Wolfy write up here

Prince of the City (1981)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB 7.7
Superb cop corruption movie from ace director Sidney Lumet. Wolfy write up here.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) Wolfy Rating 7 IMDB 6.4
Seen this great film many times. Always got time this for this classic sci-fi. Wolfy write up here.

Executive Action (1973)  Wolfy Rating 7    IMDB 6.7
JFK assassination film made only 10 years after. Interesting take. Wolfy write up here.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)  Wolfy Rating 8.5    IMDB 7.8
Amazing film. Such a brilliant performance by Spencer Tracy. Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this and so pleased I have now.

Ice Station Zebra (1968)  Wolfy Rating 6    IMDB 6.6
Really wanted to like this more than I did. It was just too long. Wolfy write up here

The Seven Ups (1973)  Wolfy Rating 7    IMDB 6.8
Amazing car chase and good cop caper. Wolfy write up here.

Invaders From Mars (1953) Wolfy Rating 7 IMDB 6.5
Seen this many times. Super fun 50’s sci-fi. Wolfy write up here.

Rolling Thunder (1977)  Wolfy Rating 7    IMDB 7
Great war veteran revenge story. Featuring a very young Tommy Lee Jones.

To Live and Die in L.A (1985)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB 7.3
I loved this 80’s action flick. Have a look over at my Wolfy write up here

The Sea Wolves (1980)  Wolfy Rating 5.5    IMDB 6.3
I so wanted to love this, I enjoyed it but it really wasn’t that great.

The Swimmer (1968)  Wolfy Rating 10    IMDB 7.7
Yep this stayed with me, still. Top marks. Amazing film.Wolfy write up here.

Sorcerer (1977)  Wolfy Rating 7.5    IMDB 7.7 
The remake of The Wages Of Fear. A write will come one day.

The Thing from Another World (1951)  Wolfy Rating 7.5    IMDB 7.3
Classic sci-fi right here. Wolfy write up here 

The White Buffalo (1977) Wolfy Rating 6 IMDB 6.1
Bronson fighting a murderous albino buffalo. This is fun. Wolfy write up here 

The Night of the Hunter (1955) Wolfy Rating 6.5 IMDB 8.1
I didn’t think it was as good as the reviews, loved the first half then the second half fell apart imho. but still an excellent film for the time.

Quest for Fire (1981) Wolfy Rating 7 IMDB 7.4
Haha this was surprisingly excellent. Wolfy write up here 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)  Wolfy Rating 10    IMDB 7.9
This was a perfect family film and all four of us laughed all the way through. Amazing film. Can’t wait to watch again. I love all of Taika Waititi films.

It Came from Outer Space (1953)  Wolfy Rating 7    IMDB 6.6
More 50’s classic sci-fi, I had to watch this again.

David and Lisa (1962)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB 7.4
Quite brilliant. Wolfy write up here

Thief (1981)  Wolfy Rating 7.5    IMDB 7.4
Safecracker gangster flick. Write up should come soon.

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)  Wolfy Rating 8    IMDB 7.3
Rib tickling thigh slapping fun. Wolfy write up here

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)  Wolfy Rating 7    IMDB 6.7
Drunk after the pub late night entertainment. Silly but extremely good fun

Suicide Squad (2016)  Wolfy Rating 5.5    IMDB 6.3
In the words of George Takei I say “OH MY”. This should of been amazing but what a mess. Nice family time though.

The Hit (1984)  Wolfy Rating 8.5    IMDB 7.1
A sad reason to watch one of my favourite John Hurt movies but it felt right to. A classic British film. Wolfy write up here

February’s watch list is piling up. A few classics and some obscure ones to look out for.

Have fun. Mikey Wolfman

*IMDB ratings change all the time so may be different.