I’m a sucker for a good Cold War story. What with the recent Salisbury nerve agent attack not too far from home and all the spy drama hitting the shores again, it’s like it never went away. Well we know it never really did, don’t we? There will always be brinkmanship and contests to see who can swing their todger the fastest in the helicopter move! But you’ll be pleased to know that Gregory Peck didn’t have to resort to that special skill! Night People is set in Berlin just after the Second World War and the start of the bubbling Cold War shenanigans between UK, Russia and the United States and a host of other nations. Continue reading “Night People (1954) Gregory Peck And Cold War Kidnapping In Berlin”
Think it was mainly the hair, with maybe a dash of the eyes that did it but his stance and face shaped were somewhat uncannily Clint Eastwood at times too. Never noticed it before, well it never crossed my mind when he starred along Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate but here in A Dandy in Aspic I just kept seeing Clint in Laurence Harvey’s performance. Probably just me though?
After watching the first-rate drama The Browning Version I investigated other films directed by Anthony Asquith. With a keen interest in World War II history, his 1958 film Orders To Kill, based on a former American intelligence operative called Donald Chase Downes novel, it ticked all the right boxes for me.
Opening credits – “The central story on which this film is based is true!”
Had no idea this Fritz Lang World War 2 film, Hangmen Also Die was based on Operation Anthropoid when I went in. Having a keen interest in military history I knew of the deadly task at hand. Interestingly the BBC have a series running at the moment investigating the training of SOE’s (Special Operations Executive) that specialised in espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance. Two SOE officers excelled the special training in the UK, one Czech the other Slovak, Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Both assigned with the task of being dropped back into their Nazi occupied home country with a deadly mission, to assassinate a high ranking Nazi leader. That Nazi asshole was dubbed The Hangman, The Butcher Of Prague, a truly hideous man who would also become know as one of the architects of the Holocaust, that beast was Reinhard Heydrich. Continue reading “Hangmen Also Die! (1943) Operation Anthropoid Nazi Assassination”
The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a novel by writer, poet Sam Greenlee which was published in 1969 causing quite the stir with it’s controversial political message. A satire on revolutionary reaction to civil rights in America during the sixties. A race motivated story with a direct response against the white oppression lived by African Americans in the United States. To shake things up, giving power to the people through the means of freedom fighters to push their important message across.
Randomly watched another Alistair Maclean novel getting the movie business after watching The Satan Bug the day before. Not realising until doing this post they were penned by the same author. When Eight Bells Toll had high hopes, with the studio and producers excitedly thinking they had a new secret agent franchises on their hands. The chance of a new James Bond style character to entertain those hungry for more stories of espionage and British secret agents taking on the megalomaniacs. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan, though we do get one very well written , exciting thriller to watch and I have to say it’s most excellent fun. Continue reading “When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Wondered If Anthony Hopkins Could Play James Bond?”
I don’t know if the 1953 film Spaceways was Hammer Film Productions first tip toe into the science fiction genre, although it did come a few years earlier than the start of the awesome Quatermass films. Yet the BBC TV series did come out in the same year, I don’t know if Hammer had the rights then? Continue reading “Spaceways (1953) Hush Hush! Top Secret! Hammer Does Spy Sci-fi”
Gruff and super moody journalist Ivan Johnson (Eddie Constantine) arrives at Alphaville following his journey through the Galaxies. He’s there with his camera to report back to the Figaro-Pravda, his newspaper, the strange goings on in this futuristic city. Ivan Johnson isn’t who he pretends to be, he is in fact an American private-eye come secret agent called Lemmy Caution.
Lemmy Caution –“Fuck yourself with your logic.”
Lemmy Caution is a nonsense kind of guy who has absolute complete contempt for bellboys asking for tips and no time to relax with the pleasures of the Seductress Third Class lady drones, however insanely beautiful they maybe! But he’s happy to pull his gun out at any other moment. Maybe a poster of naked girl that he feels might need some extra nipples or if you’re too lazy to flick your zippo, then Lemmy’s your guy, he maybe old but he’s still a quick firing crack shot and can light that with a single bullet shot.
Tagline – Suddenly the word is Alphaville… and a secret agent is in a breathless race against the Masters of the Future.
He arrived at Alphaville on a mission from the Outlands of Nueva York to track down missing agent Henry Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) and to repatriate Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon). To do this means investigating the city, luckily he meets the Professor’s daughter Natacha von Braun (Anna Karina) who just happens to be one of the most breathtaking ladies in this dystopian future world and let it be known, every lady in this city is bonkers beautiful.
Natacha Von Braun – “Got a light?”
Lemmy Caution – “I’ve traveled 9,000 kilometers to give it to you.”
The problem with getting around this city is that you are watched over 24/7 by an artificial intelligence tyrannical ruler going by the name of Alpha 60. Imagine a Siri or Alexa unit speaking to you after a non-stop week long bender of booze, cigars and cigarettes by the box load and you might get a picture of this booming gravelly hoarse throaty loud voice commanding everything from the airways.
Alpha 60 – “The acts of men carried over from past centuries will gradually destroy them logically. I, Alpha 60, am merely the logical means of this destruction.”
Alpha 60 has made this world inhuman, removed emotional thoughts and feelings, words like love, conscience and poetry and other passionate human freewill affections from the human mind. Anyone resisting these ways will be rounded up and executed.
Alpha 60 – Time is like a circle which is endlessly described. The declining arc is the past. The inclining arc is the future.
Can Lemmy complete his mission plans and get out of this future city devoid of emotion and travel back to The Outlands? Can he do better than his counterpart detective Dick Tracy? And more importantly can he get the girl?
Lemmy Caution – “Dick Tracy, is he dead?”
From the opening arrival at the hotel you know you are in for a fantastical ride. Director and writer Jean-Luc Godard brings together a half serious, half satire, futurist trip through 60’s Paris. Godard’s film brings with it a fully functioning keyword generator of genre category labels like French New Wave, Avant Garde, Neo Noir, Social Satire and Surrealism, yep it really hits every single one. You either going to think this film is a work of total genius or pretentious load of gobbledygook. I thought it was ridiculously fantastic and loved every single second of it.
One surprising factoid
If you imagine Lemmy Caution is a Sam Spade, Mike Hammer private detective kind of noir guy you will know his character. What I didn’t know was Eddie Constantine is an American actor who moved to France and starred in a whole series of Lemmy Caution B-Movies way before Jean-Luc Godard gave us his crazy take on the character. He played Lemmy at least 10 times and even paired up with Godard one last time in 1991 for the film called Germany Year 90 Nine Zero. I had absolutely no idea of any of this until just now!
Anyhow I’m sure there’s some deep psychological studies and essays out there in blog land which will be worth reading to explain things but everybody will get different feelings and thoughts about the film and that’s what makes cinema such an important medium. Have fun on your journey through the galaxies.
David Stillwell (Gregory Peck) emerges from a darken doorway of a 27th floor New York apartment block into a bustling crowd of slightly crazy people. A blackout has occurred through-out the building, bizarrely making everyone a bit feisty. To his surprise he is offered the chance to attend an orgy, twice! “I’ve already passed on one orgy. I have to go.” Continue reading “Mirage (1965) Gregory Peck, The Major Wants To See You!”
Major Hall (John Clements) follows a man he has been tailing onto a train to Oxford when suddenly the Professor randomly decides to commit suicide. On further investigation he finds a bag filled with cash and reports come in that the Professor had a vacant, lost look upon his face! What was going on? Could he of sold secrets to the Soviets? The Major visits Oxford University to try and unravel the mystery.
Tagline – Out of the Black Pit of the “Hate Machine” Came a Thing – Not a Man!