Fathom (1967) Super Sexy Raquel Welch Skydives For Spies

Finally, I found the strength to emerged from the wolf den. I’d put myself in a sadness of solitude after hearing the heartbreaking news of the passing of the delectable Raquel Welch. Taking myself off into a 3 day mourning period. I wiggled my hips as I squeezed my large frame into a star spangled two piece bikini and then proceeded to wail and howl in the darkness. You see, Raquel was my first, true, love…

Young Mikey wolf cub had sat innocently playing with his train track in the middle of the lounge floor as Mum and Dad watched TV. It was around the festive holidays when this angel appeared on the screen. Dressed in green, in fact I believe she wore a Christmas elf costume. This enchanting lady captured my heart. Around me the trains derailed at a crossing and flew across the room, smashing in a heap. I didn’t care. My eyes lit up wide, my mouth mumbling words trying to speak, “Who lady that is?” pointing at the tv transfixed. Instantly I had became a man. I was probably 9 years old.

The mind meddles with you over time and I probably have it all askew but my first encounter with my Raquel was something like that. Around that same time she would follow up that brief encounter and literally blow this young wolf’s head clean off with her beauty. Corrupting my adolescent mind as she grunted a few words and ran across the screen in a fur-skinned bikini and fist fought other like minded, scantily clad, prehistoric ladies. It was, of course, One Million Years BC (1966). It’s safe to say, Raquel did funny things to me. The next film was Fantastic Voyage (1966) and mixing Raquel with my other love, science fiction, she was forever cemented as my top girl. Others came close but Raquel always reigned supreme for me.

Tagline – She’s A Sky Diving Darling Built For Action!

As tribute I wanted to marvel at her, acting assets, with a film I hadn’t seen before. Well, I lie a little, I’ve watched the intro on many occasions but didn’t get much further. No way it can beat a certain Barbarella (1968) opening scene. That’s mission impossible! Jane Fonda completely smashed that a year later, however, it has a similar vibe to it. All played out with Miss Raquel packing away her parachute, in her undies of course…

The film in question is Fathom (1967). Raquel Welch plays our hero Fathom Harvill. This all American skydiver was touring Europe with her teammates. She’s happy gliding and smiling away in the Spanish skies until she decides it’s time to leave. Getting picked up by Timothy (Richard Briers) whom she believes is her driver. With a detour she suddenly realises he’s not taking her to the hotel! He assures her that he’s British intelligence and along with his superior, Colonel Campbell (Ronald Fraser) they inform her they needed her specialist skill set to help save the world from impending nuclear war!

These two Brits work for an organisation called H.A.D.E.S aka Headquarters Allied Defences, Espionage, and Security. Intelligence states that two Hong Kong double agents, Jo-May (Greta Chi) and Peter Merriwether (Anthony Franciosa) were in truth working for the Chinese government. In their possession, they were believed to have, a vital control device for an atomic bomb. Living a pretend happy family lifestyle within a small community it had become impossible to retrieve reliable information. In steps the need for Fathom. They required her to parachute into the compound “by accident” saying she had been blown off course. On arrival she can activate a recording device to eavesdrop on the two spies.

Tagline – Get Set For A Free-Fall With … FATHOM!

As you can imagine, things don’t go to plan. With more dodgy people turning up it’s hard to keep up with the plot. With even co-star Richard Briers quoted to claim in interviews that he finds the plot of this movie hard to Fathom.? But come on! Is anyone here for the story? Not when you try and Fathom where our divine star is getting all her snazzy prime colour outfits from? I guess they are so skimpy she squeezed them all in her purse? And you spend all the glorious run-time stood, transfixed, like I was back at the beginning of this story as a young wolf boy on the edge of manhood. Staring at her ample elegant charms mumbling words like “Eye Carumba” “Dear God!” “Praise Ye The Lord!”

A Few Random Things…

  • There’s two reasons Fathom is called Fathom. The first “Hey Senorita, how did you ever get a name like Fathom?” a reporter asks. Fathom answers with a cheeky grin “A fathom is six feet. Papa was hoping for a tall son. Papa was disappointed.“… The second, even stranger, she’s named after all her Uncles first initials, Freddie, Arthur, Tom, Harry, Oscar, and Milton. OK!
  • Richard Briers will be known to many Brits, of a certain age, for the sitcom classic The Good Life (1975/78) and the voice narration for children shows Noddy (1975) and Roobarb and Custard (1974) and the devastating Watership Down (1978) to name a few.
  • Throw into the mix a crazier than a bag of frogs, Russian called Sergi Serapkin (Clive Revill). Who goes full Peter Sellers as a strange heat needing skin suit monocle wearing fruit loop. “Miss Harvill, I must have heat; but, I dislike firecrackers.

  • The soundtrack is by British composer and jazzman John Dankworth.
  • The character is based on a novel called A Girl Called Fathom by Larry Forrester written in the same year as the film. Yet in that book she’s a tough cookie who is given the option to become a counter espionage agent or go to prison. With a different mission against the Soviets. Also I don’t believe her skydiving skills are mentioned. It is stated that Forrester had started a 2nd novel called Fathom Heavensent. I guess whilst doing the screenplay, using the films storyline but it was never published.
  • Novelist Larry Forrester would go on to co-write the screenplay for Tora, Tora, Tora (1970) after Fathom.
  • Director Leslie H Martinson film before Fathom was the fun camp classic Batman: The Movie (1966) along with working on the series.

Is Fathom any good? Well if you went and read that two bit film critic charlatan Roger Ebert (it’s here) you’d find that he gave it a thumbs down zero! Yes zero. And he gives our Raquel a right smashing! Huff! What does he know…. Hehe, ok it’s pretty bad, made worse for being pretty confusing and having a McGuffin but hey, you know what? I really enjoyed it. Come on! Who’s here for plot? I’m only here for sweet Raquel.

Rest in peace Raquel. You made this here wolf boy a very happy man. x

Eye Of The Tiger (1986) Busey, Biker Gangs, Dynamite And A Heap Of Lube

As the opening scene began I started to wonder what I was getting myself in for? Two men slowly getting dressed in close up! Shoes, belts, zoom in on zippers going up and then a quick dude junk grab rearrange shuffle! Looked like these two had just got jiggy with it! But no, these are inmates just released from the slammer. One looks like Tony Montana in his all white suit and gangster strutt confidence. The other, with that legendary big goofy toothed grin we all love, is our hero, Buck Matthews aka Gary Busey. The prison gate opens and the Rocky III signature theme tune begins. This is Eye Of The Tiger and we are in for one rocky ride…

Buck Matthews was a Vietnam war veteran trying to settle down back down in his small town with his wife and daughter. He worked construction and enjoyed it. A few years earlier he’d been wrongly jailed for standing up to thugs at the local bar. The town’s sheriff (Seymour Cassel) was sadistic and incompetent fool and had a chip on his shoulder against Buck, for no apparent reason. “Doing that time in there didn’t do a damn thing for you, did it? You were an asshole then and you’re a ‘bigger’ asshole now!

Lucky Buck had a friend in J.B. Deveraux (Yaphet Kotto), a police deputy who did his own thing on the force. JB had fought alongside Buck in Vietnam. He had his back, however, not for too long. JB was retiring! “This town is losing its greatest black man, I’m retiring. Lay on the beach, work on my tan. HAHAHA” he informs his friend.

Now our Buck could deal with the Sheriff being an arsehole. Besides he would soon turn out to be the less of his concerns. As a lunatic murderous biker gang steam roll into town like an army of invading ants. All dressed in military green and identical black crash helmets. They caused absolute havoc and terror. At the helm of this devil pack was the psychotic bald leader called Blade (William Smith) who orchestrated the carnage from afar. When the gang unleashed an outrageous attack and attempted rape Busey has no choice but to go into overload rage mode. Not on his watch! Blade explodes with menacing stern outrage. “You made a big mistake, Buck Matthews. Never scratch dry shit!” Say what?

Tagline – Nam was hell… Prison unbearable… But coming home meant murder.

Buck Busey to the rescue would return unimaginable pain for our hero. With the biker gang focused on destroying his life, home and unfortunately his family. The terror would get worse. Buck needed to level the playing field. He dug in his pocket and brings out a scribbled note. It read “Anytime, Anywhere, Anything” with a phone number. Now I don’t know what those two got up to inside their prison walls but Tony Montana owed Buck Matthews big for saving his life. Desperate to repay the debt he promised to settle up. Buck calls the number. Tony delivers. BIG! “We all square now” as a giant cargo box is delivered. It’s a missile launching, machine gun firing, bulletproof monster truck, courtesy of Scarface’s IOU.

Buck Matthews is just a man praying for vengeance with a tough will to survive. What’s an army of psychotic murder biker gangs have when you have that mantra, that goofy grin and a super truck filled with killer treats?

As the carnage grows we get heads being lopped off, exploding mannequins, coffins dragged across the floor, arm wrestling with scorpions and, brilliantly, everyone’s favorite, Yaphet Kotto, flying a crop-duster whilst grenade blasting holes out of bikers to the sound of James Brown’sGravity“. And he’s loving every second of it.

But Wolfie!” I hear you say. “What is the best death scene?” That little death nugget goes to Blade’s brother. Strapped handcuffed to a hospital bed, our Buck disguises himself as a doctor with a novel way to take his patient’s temperature! Half a jar of vaseline smothered on the top of a stick of dynamite and ramped up big beardy baddies clenched A-Hole! Lighting the fuse, “You got 25 seconds to tell me!“. The heart rate monitor he’s hooked up to goes into overdrive…

Nice to see Gary Busey in a good guy role. And not totally deranged or wearing female clothes and fake boobies in hilarious fashion like in Under Siege (1992) The Cook, The Drag Queen And The Booby Cake

Eye Of The Tiger was directed by Richard C. Sarafian who has many films and a whole heap of television titles under his watch. A few I have reviewed already over the years like Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973) Kidnap, Moonshine, Screaming Piggies & Happy Families and Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings Freaks To The Johnny Harris Funky As Hell Soundtrack. He also directed the brilliant road movie and the one I really need to review one day soon, Vanishing Point (1971).

Be sure to pop on over to fellow cult film reviewer Mike’s Take On The Movies who did an article on Gary Busey Man Of Action and see in the comments it took me 5 years to get round to Eye Of The Tiger and I’m glad I finally got to see the crazed madness.

Eye Of The Tiger was on Amazon Prime at time writing and let’s be honest it’s an authentic watching experience. The video quality was as bad as a much watched and loved original VHS video rental of the time. Filled with glitches, tracking lines, grainy cuts and a whole heap of sound issues. I loved every second of it.

All the best

Mikey Wolf

House of Games (1987) Shrinks, Stings And Scams In The Shady Shadows

There I was sat in a Travelodge. Shoes kicked off and socks still steaming. I drooled at my prize. A 4 Piece Colonel’s Meal for one. Pillow placed on seat for maximum buttocks comfort. I winked at the four real ale bottles lined up awaiting to go. You see, I had deserved this treat. Friday and Saturday I’d danced non-stop til the twilight hours. Tonight, I’d danced again. The mind was willing but the legs were tired, shattered if I tell no lie. Like an old fool, I carried on. Still, I knew I’d finish early and treat myself. So you now see why my socks were steaming, honestly, they didn’t hum. My ears did, still do, ha. The bass still rattled around in my chest. I was content but now I had hungry eyes. Mikey does loves me chicken.

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Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) Dolph Lundgren And Brandon Lee Join Forces To Fight Yakuza Boss

Johnny –We’re gonna nail this guy. And when we get done… we’re gonna go eat fish off those naked chicks!

OK, thanks for popping in for today’s review of Showdown In Little Tokyo.

All the best… Mikey Wolfman…

Me –Excuse me? What’s that? You wanted more of a review than lets eat shusi off naked girls? Oh! OK! I’ll see what I can come up with!

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The Day Of The Triffids – A Gig Theatre Adventure In Sound and Music

Searching for something different for the weekend, I glanced through the event listings at our local Arts Centre, The Lighthouse Poole. Scrolling down the page I spotted that fantastic word, Triffids!. It couldn’t be anything else could it? It had to be those pesky carnivorous human-eating plant-life! Excitedly I read the tagline…

ATTENTION EARTH-PEOPLE Platform 4 Presents… A gig theatre adventure in sound and music. An inspired take on John Wyndham’s The Day Of The Triffids.”

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My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Thatchers Britain With Gay Love and Soap Suds

The 80s was a weird and wonderful time. My era. Generation X. Born in the 70s and grew up in the 80s. Video rental, smoking cigarettes behind the school bike shed, underage drinking, sniffing glue!…… and those dreaded “Thatcher Years“! Good old Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dividing the nation. Tory rule went on forever. It always felt bleak times. Constantly surrounded by the threat of nuclear destruction, the narrative of pop culture at the time. Music videos and TV shows were awash with images of the triad of superpowers. America, The UK and Russia, all with itchy trigger fingers ready to push the button… Sniff some more glue! Vast unemployment swept across the land. Three million and counting were numbers said to be out of work and claiming benefits on the dole. The miners strikes, Greenham Common CND protests and the AIDS epidemic filled the news cycle… Pass the Evo-Stik!

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Night of the Juggler (1980) Thanos’s Dad Rips Through NYC To Find His Kidnapped Girl

Lieutenant Tonelli (Richard S. Castellano) raced up the steps as fast as he could for a round man like himself. Out of breath he took charge of the crime scene. What now? You could see it washed over his face, he’d seen it all, it was a constant in his life. Crime of New York City coming at him twenty four seven. “What’s it this time?” he shouts. The duty cop replies, “It’s another bomb threat from those Puerto Rican National Liberation Front lot.” “You gotta be kidding! Not them again!” He takes a deep breathe, exhales, and shakes his head whilst rubbing his temples. “I gotta feeling it’s gonna be another goddamn New York day!” He wasn’t wrong. Lt Tonelli would soon be caught up with the carnage about to hit his New York streets.

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