Wake in Fright (1971) – The Greatest Australian Film?

Wake in Fright (1971) poster image dvd vhs film movie

Another month, another bonkers film to add to the list, Wake in Fright from 1971 is essential watching. Marooned in a small town resembling some kind of maddening limbo land, a possible stop off for hell itself . But to be honest this could be just an ordinary Australian outback town going about its everyday life for all that I know.

Think Walkabout meets all of Crocodile Dundee’s mates, add a gazillion gallons of booze and crank that unbearable blistering heat up to maximum overdrive, blast in mountains of dry hot dust and you get a slight picture of what to expect. Who needs water when the beer flows like white rapids at the bottom of a waterfall.

Wake In Fright (1971) beer can crushing Joe (Peter Whittle)

Tagline – Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have some dust and sweat, mate? There’s nothing else out here.

On his journey into the mouth of madness is school teacher John Grant (Gary Bond) a young man bored out of his mind determined to escape the sleepy town of Tiboonda. As school breaks for the holiday term John makes a beeline for the train station to visit his girlfriend in the big city of Sydney.

Wake in Fright (1971) Tiboonda train station platform

Fun Fact 1 – John Grant sounds exactly like comic actor Matt Berry‘s characters like Bainbridge from the Mighty Boosh and Dr. Lucien Sanchez from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. Big smile from me every time he spoke.

Unfortunately for our man John his train connection brings him to the town of Bundanyabba otherwise known as the Yabba by the locals. A surreal place where there is one main religion, the religion of booze. Promoting the most booze to ever be consumed on film I can only imagine.

Wake In Fright (1971) Jock Crawford (Chips Rafferty) John Grant (Gary Bond)Wake In Fright (1971) gambling John Grant (Gary Bond)

Cop Jock Crawford – “another beer”

John meets a series of characters on his adventure from the friendly but pushy policeman, Jock Crawford (Chips Rafferty) to the kind Tim Hynes (Al Thomas) and his slightly strange daughter Janette Hynes (Sylvia Kay). Then there’s the nutcracker town doctor Doc Tydon (Donald Pleasence) to the bullish introduction to Joe (Peter Whittle) and Dick (Jack Thompson). Everyone puts in a stellar performance and everyone grabs your full attention throughout.

Wake In Fright (1971) Tim Hynes (Al Thomas) John Grant (Gary Bond)

John Grant – “And what do you do?” Doc Tydon – “I drink.”

So many of the set pieces have you transfixed with fear or wide eyed fascination as you watch, especially the gambling sequence where you become as intoxicated in those flying marked coins as the obsessed men playing it. You just can’t help but be mesmerised by John Grant’s journey as he tries to leave the town.

Wake In Fright (1971) Donald Pleasence mad doctor outback

This is truly an Australian masterpiece. A story adapted from a 1961 novel by Kenneth Cook and directed by Canadian Ted Kotcheff the guy who unleashed Rambo on us in 1982 with First Blood.

The history of the film is a mammoth journey in on itself, as lost prints of the film were found at the eleventh hour in a box marked to be destroyed. I read that the films editor Anthony Buckley took it on himself to find the original prints which took on a ten year voyage of discovery.

Wake In Fright (1971) Dick (Jack Thompson)

Please be warned the kangaroo hunting section is barbaric and extremely unpleasant. It’s very tough to watch, so be wary if you watch it. The footage is said to be done by licensed hunters but whatever way you look at it, it is very shocking.

A producer’s’ note at the end of the film states – The hunting scenes depicted in this film were taken during an actual kangaroo hunt by professional licensed hunters. For this reason and because the survival of the Australian kangaroo is seriously threatened, these scenes were shown uncut after consultation with the leading animal welfare organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom

Wake in Fright (1971) booze party time

If you love this then I thoroughly recommend Sunday Too Far Away which has a similar theme, well, of drinking shit loads of booze in the outback but with added sheep.

Fun Fact 2 – It’s currently being made into a 2 part mini series with Wake In Fright (2017) in post-production at the time of posting. To be honest there really isn’t any need to remake it as it’s perfect.

Wake In Fright (1971) Donald Pleasence mad doctor drinking again

If like me and you love Australian cinema then I highly recommend you becoming a “Yabbaman” and getting on this trip if you’ve not seen it.  But if you have, what did you think?

Grab a case of the grog, put another shrimp on the barbie, sit back and enjoy the ride. Watching films don’t get much better. Here’s the trailer for a little peek. Take it easy and drink sensibly hehe … Mikey Wolfie

Further Reading Links

Wake In Fright (1971) New Yorker Article
Wake In Fright (1971) Making Of Notes Guardian Article
Wake In Fright (1971) Wikipedia

Coffy (1973) – Pam Grier Jiggles Whilst Roy Ayers Plays

DSCF5457

Massive fan of Pam Grier for obvious reasons, she is a tough iconic action star with a strong screen presence and of course that fist biting incredible body that brings an old wolfman like me out in a hot sweat. Had to sit with an ice pack down my trunks to make it through the viewing!

Tagline – She had a body men would die for – and a lot of them did!

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier sexy back of car Foxy Brown

Our heroine, the sweet nurse Coffy (Pam Grier) has come to the end of her tether seeing too much pain and suffering coming through the door of the hospital but what sends her over the edge is when her young sister gets hooked on drugs and ends up in a rehabilitation home. Vigilante justice has to be served out to these evil dealers and pushers. Can this one woman army clean up the streets from these fiends.

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier nurse with carterCoffy (1973) - Pam Grier sexy gun

Sugarman – Look over there. I got plenty of tail. I got more tail than I can handle. I even got white tail!

Now our Coffy is one helluva sexy lady and she uses her mind melting beautiful body super powers to tempt these bad men like a hot seductive praying mantis. Now her body is more dangerous than her killer ways. Any opportunity those sweet as sugar puppies can fly out of their boulder holders, those bad boys are out, like as if Ving Rhames and his twin brother keep popping up in cameo roles.

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier king george

Tagline – She’s the GODMOTHER of them all…. The baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town!

Can our enchanting Coffy take on all these pimps, pushers, drug addicts, gang bosses, hitmen, corrupt cops, dirty backstabbers and prostitutes all on her own? If anyone can our sweet badass Coffy can.

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier hot carCoffy (1973) - Pam Grier sexy cat fight

Somethings to look out for – Coffy’s amazing changing outfits, like the random tartan trousers. Her clothes are only rivaled by King George’s (Robert DoQui) outrages cool get ups.  Also another high point is the cat fight between a sexy bunch of King George’s harem of ladies.

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier rocking the tartan

Out of many blaxploitation films I seen over the years, this was one that had eluded me. I’d been eager to see it for years and not just because of Pam but as I have the soundtrack of the film by jazz legends Roy Ayers and Harry Whitaker. After years of listening to the LP it was a nice touch to hear and see those tunes filtered in throughout the movie. The opening scene travelling in the car through the streets to “Coffy Is The Colour” was a real sublime moment.

Directed by Jack Hill who made Foxy Brown a year later with Miss Grier starring again. I’ve seen that one many years ago but man I gotta get on the rewatch as I need more Pammy fun in my life. HOOOOOOWWWWLL

Coffy (1973) IMDB

Coffy (1973) Soundtrack By Roy Ayers on Discogs

Coffy (1973) - Poster DVD Video VHS Bluray

Shock Corridor (1963) – Loony Bin Detective

Shock Corridor (1963) - poster image samuel fuller film movie

Oh what a top buzz indeed. I just seen a film that sits perfectly to the feeling I had when I first watched John Frankenheimer’s 1966 thriller with Rock Hudson, the quite brilliant Seconds. That same feeling of watching something really special and highly original for the time. Damn man, Shock Corridor hit all the right notes for me.

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”

Shock Corridor (1963) - Johnny Barrett peter breck

This is the story of an overzealous newspaper journalist called Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) who is determined to win the Pulitzer Prize for the ultimate story. His mission is to get committed to a mental hospital and work from the inside to solve a murder with the hope of discovering information from three witnesses.

Shock Corridor (1963) - Constance Towers cathy exotic dancer

First though he has to get in the insane asylum. With the help of a professional psychiatrist and his newspaper boss they come up with the crazy notion to get Johnny’s girlfriend, beautiful exotic dancer Cathy (Constance Towers) to pretend to be his sister and to report her “brother” for his incestous advances. Within no time, our hero happily gets what he wants!

Shock Corridor (1963) - Constance Towers cathy exotic dancer worrying

Cathy – “Johnny, you’ve gotta’ be crazy to want to be committed to an insane asylum to solve a murder.”

Set up sounding like a classic B-movie with taglines like “Opens The Doors To Sights You’ve Never Seen Before” to “Recommended for Adults Only!” and to gets those bums on seats, the pull of “Shocking World of Psychos and Sex-Maddened Women Exposed!” but in reality this movie is an all star A class thriller.

Shock Corridor (1963) - inmate insane mental hospital corridor scene

Directed, written and produced by Samuel Fuller.  The script is outstanding, the edits, overlapping images and the lush black and white print are all sublime. The “street” might be just a corridor but it’s extended look just makes it look menacing. The interviews with the three inmate witnesses are so compelling when they hit a spot of awareness and it’s conveyed in image form, so creative.  Plus the fight or getting dragged off scenes are so extremely realistic.

Shock Corridor (1963) - inmate insane mental hospital

Plus did I say it has Nymphos!

Wilkes – “I used to work in the Female Wing. But the “Nympho Ward” got too dangerous for me.”

Shock Corridor (1963) - Nymphos

Johnny – “Nymphos!”

Johnny – “Last time I went into a secret room I was attacked by Amazons!” Wilkes – “Ha That’s a dream most men have.”

Shock Corridor (1963) - Constance Towers peter breck madness

Can our Johnny escape the nymphos, find a knife and fork or decipher the nonsense to get that perfect story and achieve the ultimate prize whilst holding on to his own sanity. Tune in to find out, you won’t be disappointed. This here Wolfie absolutely loved it.

Shock Corridor (1963) - dinner time inmates asylum

Fun Fact – Samuel Fuller became a journalist at an insane young age working as a crime reporter at 17 for the New York Evening Graphic.

Shock Corridor (1963) - New York Evening Graphic random page

Further Reading Links

Shock Corridor (1963) IMDB

Shock Corridor (1963) WIKI

Shock Corridor (1963) Criterion

Mickey One (1965) – Free Jazz New Wave

Mickey One (1965) - Poster

Within five minutes of Mickey One, this experimental film levellies a barrage of outstanding cool black and white images at you. Everyone you could instantly freeze frame, print and stick straight up on your wall.

Mickey One (1965) - sauna steam room scene

This film is surreal, bizarre and super fantastique! Inspired by French New Wave Cinema of the time, Director Arthur Penn (Bonnie And Clyde, Night Moves) goes to town with Alan Surgal script. Twisting together an edgy free falling story into the world of paranoia and fear.

Mickey One (1965) - warren beatty stand up comedianMickey One (1965) - sexy swimming girl

Our handsome wise talking hero is played with passion by a young Warren Beatty. A stand-up comic working the club scene unfortunately run by the Mafia. After a extremely heavy night on the tiles, drinking, partying, gambling and probably flirting with mob bosses girls, or maybe worse, he wakes to realise he has got himself dug way too deep, owing thousands. Fearing for his life he makes a run for it, fleeing to Chicago to hide out. On the road he obtains a Social Security card and becomes Mickey One.

Mickey One (1965) - warren beatty stand up comedian dive club

Mickey One – I’m the king of the silent pictures. I’m hiding out till the talkies blow over. Will you leave me alone?

Mickey One (1965) - jazz dancing drummer girl

Mickey is a twitchy fellow with big anger issues but also buckets of charm and finesse as he tries to make ends meet. He starts to feel his calling back to the stand-up circuit, which brings unwanted attention to the fear laden guy and drives him a little nuts. Lucky he has an agent called George Berson (Teddy Hart) and the gawd darn sexy Jenny Drayton (Alexandra Stewart) to look out for him. Can our Mickey get his feet back on the ground and get this unfortunate mess sorted out?

Mickey One (1965) - fading editing fire slums warren beattyMickey One (1965) - trampoline scene

This film hits so many surreal moments. From trampolines, to saunas, to random people dressed in strange clothes and a massive brawl featuring a load of heavies in pantomime costumes. It’s all strange and fascinating.

Mickey One (1965) - random artist japanese guy

Random jump cuts, fading in and out images, stylised scenes to a few comical segues. None more so than the rag and bone japanese artist guy (Kamatari Fujiwara) who pops up throughout the film just waving at Mickey. He goes off to build one of the craziests art installations you did ever see, just called “Yes”. Does it represent our hero’s predicament? Self destruction…..

Mickey One (1965) - chicago seedy street scenes

And to finish you get the free jazz, spasmodic moods and improvisation from saxophone legend Stan Getz, literally freaking out on his horn giving the scenes an added edge of delirious madness. The Mickey One soundtrack LP is composed by Eddie Sauter and released on MGM Records.

Mickey One (1965) - Record cover LP

Definitely a recommended watch if you can track it down, it’s quite the original piece of filmmaking and carried well by Warren Beatty’s quirky performance. Have you seen it before? What did you think. Let the old Wolfman know. Have fun, enjoy cinema…

Further Reading Links

Mickey One (1965) IMDB

Enemy Territory (1987) – “Ghost” Busting

Enemy Territory (1987) Poster DVD VHS

Enemy Territory is another movie in a long tradition of tower blocks and council flats being turned into all out war zones, think of The Raid, Attack The BlockDredd. But add some elements of Walter Hill’s The Warriors, a dash of The Lost Boys and dollop of any black and white buddy movie from the 80’s, I’m gonna go for Running Scared.  Then you get a taste of what to expect in this really surprisingly brilliant low budget little gem.

Enemy Territory (1987) - opening titles

Tagline – In Enemy Territory they take no prisoners. You’ve got to kill your way out…

Insurance salesman Barry (Gary Frank) gets sent to pick up a policy sale from an elderly woman in a notoriously rough housing project called Lincoln Towers. Being naive and well pretty damn dumb he strolls into the tower block and gets himself “marked” right off the bat. What he didn’t realise was this high-rise building is run and terrorised by a tough gang called The Vampires, lead by their ferocious leader, The Count (Tony Todd).

Enemy Territory (1987) - Ray Parker JR and

It’s not till Barry gets to the top floor that he becomes aware that The Count wants his blood after he promises to kill this “Ghost”. Luckily Will (Ray Parker Jr) was funning a young lady as shots are fired outside and being the telephone repair man he is, comes racing to the rescue. Fortunately our handsome Will is an ex Vietnam veteran and ex Ghostbuster and takes control of the situation. But it’s not long before The Vampires turn up again and all hell breaks loose.

Baffled tower block guard to Barry – “And they sent a white man? This time of night? Are you from Neptune or Vulcan or some such!?”

Enemy Territory (1987) - Tony Todd The Vampires Psycho

With a solid bunch of very likable characters being met along the way as our heroes try their best to escape. From the sweet old lady Elva Briggs (Frances Foster) to her sexy niece, the wise and feisty Toni Briggs (Stacey Dash).  You get an outrageous bonkers performance from Tony Todd as he barks out orders to his men whilst spouting out silly, almost poetic vampire lines and keeps shouting for his trusty side kick “Psycho“.

Enemy Territory (1987) - stacey dash Toni vampires

There’s a small cameo, almost scene stealing part from messed up wheelchair bound war veteran Parker played with a crazed look in his eye by Jan-Michael Vincent. But grabbing the limelight from him was young baseball bat rolling rookie “cop” Chet played by Deon Richmond.

Enemy Territory (1987) - will and billy

Enemy Territory (1987) - opening titles intro

Seriously if you like 80’s films and like me this one had passed you by then I thoroughly recommend it. Unfortunately it’s not really had a proper DVD release and apart from VHS cassette this eighties movie has only seen a disc release in the Netherlands of all places, which sadly seems to be a reproduction of the VHS source. So if you want to see this like I did then you’ll be happy to know some kind fellow has uploaded it to Youtube here. It has Dutch subtitles but seriously it’s not a problem. If you want to see it then that it’s I’m afraid.

Grab some garlic and a wooden stake, a 4 pack of beers and sit back and roll the cameras. Enjoy….. Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Enemy Territory (1987) IMDB

Enemy Territory (1987) WIKI

Wolf Lake (1980) – Messed Up War Veterans

Wolf lake (1980) poster

An hour and half and not one sign of any wolves, lycans or otherwise. No one howling at the moon, no metamorphosis from human to wolf or visa a versa, I want my money back! Well it was free, so I mustn’t grumble, Wolf Lake Youtube.  Will give them the lake part of the title though, there was one big ass lake. Wolf Lake is located in Yukon, Canada but I’ve just read it was filmed in Mexico!

Tagline – Survive the night at Wolf Lake if the suspense doesn’t kill you first!

Wolf lake (1980) Rod Steiger taking aim

This pretty darn depressing movie from the 1980’s stars the one and only Rod Steiger, the star of one of my favorite movies, well top five for sure, A Fistful Of Dynamite aka Duck, You Sucker. Now this might be a B-movie, exploitation style film but to be fair Rod does give it a pretty good performance as the menacing alpha male bully Charlie, an ex sergeant world war two veteran who has recently lost his son to the Vietnam war.

Wolf Lake (1980) David Huffman Rod Steiger

Charlie to David – “You are a boy aren’t you? With all that hair you could be a bearded lady?”

Wolf Lake (1980) Richard Herd Paul Mantee peeping toms

Coming to the Wolf Lake with 3 old war buddies to unwind, drink, hunt and reminisce. Unfortunately a young couple who are looking after the lodges get in way of boys time and when Charlie discovers the lad David (David Huffman) is a Vietnam deserter all hell breaks lose.

Wolf lake (1980) three army buddies gone too far

David to Charlie – “If Bullshit was music you’re be a brass band Charlie!”

David and his girlfriend, a rather saucy young lady called Linda played by Robin Mattson, will be giving “no stars” and a pretty stern review on Tripadvisor.

Tagline – The hunter. The hunted. The hatreds hidden too long.

Wolf Lake (1980) David Huffman Robin Mattson cabin fever

Charlie’s hunting buddies are Wilbur (Jerry Hardin), George (Richard Herd) and Sweeney (Paul Matee). Three actors you will certainly go “oh that’s the guy from thingy, oh what’s it’s called?” and have been in hundreds of films, TV movies and television shows between them.

Directed by Burt Kennedy who made a bunch of cowboy and western films but also made the classic film, wait for it…. Suburban Commando with Hulk Hogan hehe..

Wolf Lake (1980) David Huffman Robin Mattson

I’ve hit a lot of depressing films recently and this is another for the doom pile, think Straw Dogs. So if your happy levels are maybe a little too high, then I suggest you watch this to level them back to normal.  I do have a bunch of comedy satires to clear the cobwebs out, watch this space.

To be honest I enjoyed the tension and the performances, especially Rod Steiger who growled and snarled out all his lines with venom. It’s a rare one to find so grab it on Youtube before it goes if you fancy it.

Further Reading Links

Wolf Lake (1980) IMDB

Wolf Lake (1980) Cinematic Shocks Blog

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Fools Gold

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) poster

Quite seriously the beginning opening sequence of Aguirre The Wrath Of God is ridiculously breathtaking, so stunning. A visually beautiful set piece, the panning shots of hundreds of men marching down the side of cliffs and mountains carrying all manner of unnecessary items. Hundreds of slaves and sherpers, interspersed with men in full armour, conquistadores in all their glory.

Tagline – A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Don Lope de Aguirre Klaus Kinski 2

Add to this gorgeous scene the haunting music from the German ambient new-age electronic band Popol Vuh that actually penetrates the soul, it transfixes you. Electric keyboard strings and voices pre-warn of the coming doom and despair.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) woods

A 16th century Spanish expedition of soldiers and noblemen on a mission in search of the fabled gold of El Dorado. After hitting a dead end filled with mud and cut off by the white rapids of the flowing river. The leader of the main party has no choice but to abandon their plans and high hopes of riches. With no food supplies, helplessly lost, and with the reality of despair setting in, a group is organised together to build rafts and set off in search of food and rescue. Deep down everyone must see this as a hopeless task but proudly they fight on.

Tagline  – On this river, God never finished his creation.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Don Lope de Aguirre Klaus Kinski

What they probably didn’t expect was politics, mutiny, cannibals, psycho locals, their own inner demons and a lunatic leader by the name of Don Lope de Aguirre, played by Klaus Kinski who looks as mad as he will become. Directed by one of Germany’s greatest original filmmakers Werner Herzog, a man who has such a talent for investigating the inner conflict of the human condition and always brings such obscure and awe inspiring films to make the viewer invest themselves full force into the experience.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Klaus Kinski Pan Pipes
You try and hide in the most god forsaken places but those blooming pan pipers find you everywhere!

This is a journey in the heart of darkness, a truly poetic picture filled with metaphors and similes. I can imagine many essays have been written and discussed about this film, so I won’t drivel on in my illiterate way but believe me this is a fascinating film. Plus I know when that opening scene will ever leave me. Here’s the music.

Popol Vuh – Aguirre, The Wrath Of God Soundtrack

To be honest I should’ve seen this many years ago but you can’t watch them all and it’s now been ticked off list mountain. I very much recommend it, have you seen it before? Let me know your thoughts….. BTW one of those Conquistador helmets would make a most excellent popcorn bowl. Take it easy and enjoy film… Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Roger Ebert Review

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) IMDB

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Wikipedia

The Long Day’s Dying (1968) Telepathic Pacifist?

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - titles credits david hemmings

The Long Day’s Dying was my favorite film from my March movies watching and the second, that month to feature that man David Hemmings. The other was the excellent school drama, Unman, Wittering and Zigo.

Directed by Peter Collinson, who sandwiched this film in between Up The Junction and the classic mini gold robbing caper The Italian Job.

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - soldiers british film
Not sure on Hemmings kill face!

Starring Mr Hemmings as John, one of three soldiers holed up in a European countryside in a broken down chateau during the second world war. Bombs blast around them, Germans soldiers litter the area. Do they wait for their Sergeant who has ventured out in an attempt to locate their unit, or do they move on before they are discovered?

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - David Hemmings keeping look out

In the spooky house in the woods with a chicken, John, Cliff (Tony Beckley) and Tom Cooper (Tom Bell) talk to each other telepathically and I assure you it’s not an episode of Sapphire and Steel. Well they don’t actually speak with their minds but you hear their inner monologue and they answer each other. It’s gives this World War Two movie a wonderful sense of the surreal. I believe it’s because they are a close unit, brothers in arms, they know what each other’s thoughts and movements are. It’s a intriguing part of this relatively unknown obscure gem, main reason for never being released on VHS or DVD.  Bizarrely it’s on Amazon to rent though.

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - David Hemmings gun soldier

John “I have a small skewer hidden in the collar of my jumping jacket, and a razor blade in my Gaiter as well as my knife”

The three are quite different characters, John keeps going on about being a pacifist as he informs you how well he’s tooled up and gets ready to go in for the kill. Cliff has some big anger problems and takes them out on our feathered friend. And Tom Cooper is a well mannered and thoughtful soldier and a close friend of John’s.  Could a German soldier called Helmet (Alan Dobie) change things for them?

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - capture

Film critic Renata Adler gives the movie a right smashing back on it’s original release of 1968 for The New York Times. The Long Days Dying NY Times Review

I’m not sure if it was because of that review but I see on the promotional poster there’s a long piece saying don’t listen to the bad reviews the film has got.  Written by another New York Times film critic called Penelope Gilliatt, she is English by the way. Here’s what she says, some tough words.

“A very fine piece of writing, acting and filmmaking and I believe that anyone who drags his feet because of the current rumor that the picture is too rough for the American people is making a libellous misjudgement of his country’s mood”

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - explosions

To be fair I can imagine at the time it might of not come off as well. For me it’s the old style that has held up well alongside the writing and those monologues, giving it an original feel which I feel sets it apart from other anti-war films. I was transfixed throughout the runtime and continue to think about it.

Based on a novel by Alan White who was a commando leader during the war so giving it a real authentic realistic feel.

The Long Day's Dying (1968) - David Hemmings novel Alan White

Future Reading Links

The Long Day’s Dying (1968) IMDB

The Long Day’s Dying (1962) Alan White. Goodreads review

The Long Day’s Dying (1968) Amazon UK Rental

La Jetée (1962) Twelve Monkeys Future Past

La Jetée (1962) dvd cover

1995’s Twelve Monkeys is up there in my top 10 science fiction films of all time, somewhere near the very top. Everything about Terry Gilliam’s vision and David Webb’s screenplay is absolute perfection. I knew that it was inspired by a short sci-fi story called La Jetée (The Jetty) by an experimental filmmaker and photographer called Chris Marker but I hadn’t seen it until now!

La Jetée (1962) Glasses

Tagline – “This is the story of a man marked by an image from his childhood.”

This 28 minute film truly blew my mind. Made in 1962 using still photography imagines to tell the story. Some fading in and out over each other, some just stark imagery of pain and madness, framed images showing the bleakness of this tale.

La Jetée (1962) the experiment

This is the story of The Man (Davos Hanich) placed in an experiment of sleep and dreams to return back and forth to the past and future. To find a solution to the bleak dystopian future they are living now. The aftermath of World War III has devastated Paris and the survivors are forced to live underground. Have the scientists found a way to time travel to help with the present. To jump into memories in the subconscious and change the course of the future.

La Jetée (1962) Man and Woman sleep

La Jetée (1962) Man and Woman Chris Marker

The Man returns back and forth to a set memory of The Woman (Hélène Chatelain) a beautiful free spirited young lady. An emotional relationship is realised as he enters his state of mind, feeling and glimpsing moments of time, starting and finishing at an airport viewing platform, The Jetty.

La Jetée (1962) Man and Woman the jetty airport

It’s a devastating poetic experience, with The Narration key to describing the situation to the frozen in time still imagines playing out in black and white photography, all giving to the broken down society and overwhelming pain. Adding to the panic and wonder are whispered voices, German sounding voices and the sound of The Man’s heartbeat as the experiment moves along. But most of all is the breathtaking, devastating music sang by the St. Alexandre Newsky Cathedral Chorus giving a haunting mystical presence to the film.

La Jetée (1962) future people

It’s a true masterpiece and I can image it has been used in essays by directors and film student all around the world for many many years. Right now I need to watch Twelve Monkeys again, sharpish.

Mikey Wolfman says “Have fun, enjoy movies”#

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I try to recreate the experiment. Visions flash in and out, lots of lady wolfs!

Further Reading Links

On La Jetée by Jean-Louis Schefer – Chris Marker Website

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

La Jetée (1962) IMDB

La Jetée (1962) The Criterion Collection

Le Samouraï (1967) – Hitman, Jazz and Sexy Ladies

Le Samouraï (1967) poster gun

What can you say when you read it could be one of the most influential films to a monster amount of classic directors from the likes of Tarantino, Coppola, Jim Jarmusch, Coen Brothers, Scorsese, Nicolas Winding Refn to name but a few, and you realise you didn’t even know it existed. So after a punishing few hour session of flaying myself whilst slowly headbutting the wall to teach myself a well earned lesson I can now say I have seen it, and by god man, it’s a goody.

Le Samouraï (1967) Birdcage

Right from the opening scene within the dark living room we meet our hero laid out on a couch, smoking and contemplating. Through the curtains, the framed windows show the rain pouring and trickling down the glass outside. The rain noise is accompanied by the bleeping sound of a tweeting bullfinch sat inside a wire bird cage, taking up center stage of the room.

Le Samouraï (1967) Looking moody

On the screen the words to a fictional quote from The Book Of Bushido appear giving meaning to this thoughtful opening scene.

“There is no greater solitude than that of the samurai, unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle……perhaps…”

Silence is the key here, ten beautiful minutes of no dialogue. Watching patiently, transfixed by the movements through the dark and moody back streets of Paris. What is this guy up to?

Le Samouraï (1967) Alain Delon Jef Costello line up

Alain Delon plays an ultra cool hitman by the name of Jef Costello. A dark, brooding moody character, always looking, constantly thinking, calmly making this next move like a chess player. He has the perfect plan, the perfect alibi. What could possibly go wrong?

Le Samouraï (1967) Nathalie & Alain Delon

Other players involved in the story are two very beautiful women, both ladies of the night. One working from home, Jane Lagrange (actually Alain’s wife Nathalie Delon) and the other a jazz pianist at a nightclub, Valerie played by Cathy Rosier.

Le Samouraï (1967) jazz band trio

Not making things easy for our hitman is Le Commissaire police chief François Périer. An aging experienced detective who knows how to use all his talents to try and nab Jef Costello. Undercover chases, surveillance, bugging, plus throw in some gangsters and car stealing.

Le Samouraï (1967) Jef Costello & Le Commissaire

This is a breathtaking gorgeous film, every scene is exquisitely framed, the slow pace is perfect, the leading man nails the moody calculating hitman and the old 60’s Paris backdrop is wonderful. If like me and you haven’t seen this, I can’t recommend enough. Get on it.

Le Samouraï (1967) Lineup police

Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, who I see is a master of this genre, I am in the lucky position of having a whole heap of amazing films to watch. One very happy Wolfman.

Fun Fact – Cathy Rosier had recorded a single called Cathy Banana in 1976 on the Barclay record label. Discogs link

PS Keep those ears pinned back for the stunning beautiful soundtrack by composer François de Roubaix and was original released as a 7 inch single EP but it looks like a recent CD release on Rambling Records in 2015 has been put together. Discogs link here

Further Reading Links

Roger Ebert Le Samurai Review

Le Samourai (1967) IMDB

The Criterion Collection Le Samourai