Telefon (1977) – The Russian Manchurian Candidates

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Movie poster artwork film

Donald is gonna think I’m stalking him! This is the third film in a row with the versatile, dependable Mr Pleasence and this time it was purely by chance as I didn’t know he was in it. What a great surprise.  Cul-De-Sac was first then Ground Zero.

Was ticking this one off the list mainly because of Charles Bronson and second being that it’s a Don Siegel movie I knew about but wondered if I had actually seen it. I hadn’t and I can report that it’s a fine piece of 70’s drama.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson explosion

Russian saboteurs within the United States had been placed as sleeper cells at strategic positions around America during the height of the Cold War. Without really knowing it they were hypnotised to go on a suicide mission by a command signal setting them off like the Manchurian Candidate. This message is sent by telephone and consists of a phrase from a poem by Robert Frost called ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.

Tagline – They’ll do anything to stop Telefon. The operation that can trigger 51 human time bombs.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson russian cia agent

Suddenly they are set off one by one blowing stuff up left right and centre. One minute casually fixing a car as a mechanic the next minute you’re plowing through barriers to decommissioned army barracks and blowing up the building. And they just keep coming, hitting targets all over the place. What’s scary is the fact that theres 51 sleepers ready to be activated!

Telefon (1977) - Donald Pleasence telephone bad guy russian agent 3

Who could be doing this? really there can only be one person so dastardly, so ruthless, that it has to be Donald Pleasence playing a disgruntled rogue KGB agent called Nicolai Dalchimsky who has acquired a little black book filled with all the agents addresses and most importantly to him, their phone numbers.

Telefon (1977) - Donald Pleasence telephone bad guy russian agent

Tagline – Your next phone call may be your last!

Who can stop this madman who could actually start world war 3? Well step up Mr Charles Bronson as Russian Major Grigori Borzov, an experienced officer within the KGB with photographic memory superpower. He gets to memorise a copy of the black book before he is sent to the USA to track down and stop Nicolai.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson gun car chase

What name does this Russian super agent go by?  “Gary“! Gary meets up with a sassy CIA agent Barbara played by Lee Remick and she is greeted with the line.

“For an American agent you’re not entirely repulsive!”

There’s lots of great banter and sly spy work chemistry between Gary and Barbara as they try to figure each other out whilst tracking down Nicolai Dalchimsky. Can these two agents work together to bring down this rogue agent on a destructive path trying to start a world war? You have to get this on the watch list to find out if you haven’t seen it already.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Lee Remick KGB CIA AgentsTelefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Lee Remick KGB CIA Agents car

On a side note – Criminally under used in a wonderful little part, is Tyne Daly from Cagney and Lacey fame playing a super brained boffin, CIA computer expert called Dorothy Putterman. Would liked to see more of her used. She was never better than Kate Moore in The Enforcer annoying Harry Callahan.

Telefon (1977) - Tyne Daly computer geek cia agentTelefon (1977) - Tyne Daly computer geek cia agent 2

Truck Turner (1974) – Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile

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Big black baldy bail bondsman bounty hunter Truck Turner busts heads in this gloriously fun 70’s smasher starring that Hot Buttered Soul Love Machine himself Isaac Hayes. Not only does he get to trash a whole array of pimps and dealers, he gets to take on the soundtrack duties, adding the funk grooves to the proceedings. Nothing sounds better than watching crazy clothed pimps and hoes and wrecking ball car chases accompanied to the sound of wah wah guitar, dirty basslines, horn stabs and funky as hell drum breaks.

Truck Turner (1974) isaac hayes bail bonds bounty huntersTruck Turner (1974) isaac hayes bail bonds bounty hunters coors beer

Injured former professional footballer Mack “Truck” Turner and his partner and good friend Jerry (Alan Weeks) work for bondsman Fogarty (Dick Miller) who has a pimp on the books called Gator (Paul Harris) who has skipped bail. Truck meets up with an old retired pimp friend Duke (Scatman Crothers) who points Truck and Jerry in the right direction.

Truck Turner (1974) isaac hayes jerry pimp mobile chase bounty huntersTruck Turner (1974) isaac hayes gun towers

This leads to what I had been waiting for, the chase theme from the soundtrack called “Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile“. It’s a 9 minute track and I’ll tell you I wasn’t expecting most of it to be in the film as the boys chase Gator across town, through backstreets, highways and some real random sets, like running across a water processing plant into an underground factory. With all the smashing and tires burning and some grand theft auto you also get a mass brawl in a bar. It’s a real frenzied action packed scene filled with frills and spills with a heap of comedic leanings. It’s a joyful sequence.

Here’s the trailer.

Dorinda – “We call her Turnpike, cuz you gotta pay to get on and pay to get off!”

Another deep joy is in the form of a certain sexy communications officer from Star Trek Lieutenant commander Nyota Uhura otherwise known as Nichelle Nichols. She looks like she having a ball playing Gators main girl and madame to a whole harem of prostitutes called Dorinda. Pulling off an amazing selection of bonkers looking outfits whist she barks orders and harsh put downs to everyone she meets. Anyone who lusted after Uhuru in their teens get a few nice little side boob action shots here and there. But damn this girl is one scary mo-fo!

Truck Turner (1974) Nichelle Nichols Nyota Uhura Yaphet Kotto star trekTruck Turner (1974) isaac hayes all the pimps and hoes

Now to add to all the madness going on, in enters big bad number one pimp Harvard Blue aka Mr Big aka Kananga from Live and Let Die the one and only, the formidable Yaphet Kotto. He stands in with a whole bunch of comical dressed other pimps and to add to Trucks woes they order a gang of cleaners in to cause mayhem, hitman called the insurance men.

Truck Turner (1974) sexy Annazette Chase

Through all this crazy our Truck has his girl, the hot Annie (Annazette Chase) to look after when she is just released from jail and also her pet cat! Promoting a strange love making scene with a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the onlooking pussy cat.

Annie – “Wow you wanna give me beer and screw me!”
Truck – “Alright alright alright we’re stop and get something to eat first!”

Truck Turner (1974) pimps and hoes

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan who bought us a different truck smasher in the likes of White Line Fever but also another blaxploitation film called The Slams starring Jim Brown which I really wouldn’t mind seeing.

Fun Fact – I read that Isaac Hayes and his band played the entire score for director Jonathan Kaplan at Hayes’s home. I bet that was an amazing night of jams.

Truck Turner (1974) Poster Film Movie Isaac Hayes

Being There (1979) – Peter Sellers Gardening Guru

Being There (1979) poster film movie

Being There is one of those movies that digs about in your brain, popping up throughout the day nagging at you to decipher what it was all about. Could it be that deep, did it have so many undercurrent takes on life, metaphors of differing scales on the human condition .. I don’t know to be honest but man did I absolutely adored this film.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance chancey gardener

How could you not love the delightful wandering simple minded performance of Chance by Peter Sellers.  Our wonderful innocent hero is, Chance the gardener or as he becomes known, Chauncey Gardiner.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance chancey gardener guru

Chance works as a gardener for a wealthy old man in a massion stuck in the middle of a Washington DC ghetto. He spends his days tending the estates court yards and gardens whilst entertaining himself the rest of the time watching and learning from the television, constantly flicking through channels educating himself from infomercials and news reports. He’s seems very content in this life until his whole world changes with the death of his master (father?) and has to leave the estate behind, wandering off into a strange and bewildering world.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance chancey gardener guru 2

Tagline – Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it!

Now that adventure into a brave new world starts with a truly amazing scene set to, of all things, the theme to 2001 Space Odyssey, well that damn funky 1973 version of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra by Eumir Deodato.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance chancey street walking

It so suits Chances departure off on his epic journey upon the unknown. Accompanied by the grand orchestra and the funky sounds enhancing his travels through the slums. I suggest you watch the scene unfold in the film but if you fancy a recap or just happy to watch it anyway, here’s the full scene.

Tagline – Life is a state of mind

Now like a certain Forrest Gump our Chance has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and literally bumps into his next destiny. Meeting up with Eve Rand, played by a orgasmic Shirley Maclaine, the wife of elderly wealthy businessman Benjamin Rand (Melvyn Douglas). From there on Chance manages to become a “guru” talking in gardening quotes. Impressing non other than the President of the United States
President Bobby (Jack Warden) himself.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance Melvyn Douglas randBeing There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance Shirley Maclaine

Graffiti – America ain’t shit cause the white man’s got a God complex

Chance inadvertently gives sex tips, speaks a dozens languages, befriends the upper-class and appears on TV. What is so special about Chance? You will have to watch it to find out.

Based upon a 1970 novel by Polish born writer Jerzy Kosinski, Being There is directed by Hal Ashby who gave us the wonderful dark humour and sweetness of Harold and Maude.

Being There (1979) Peter Sellers Chance Shirley Maclaine Melvyn Douglas rand

The ending? Spoilers in the link, only open this link if you have seen it.  I noticed this article on screenprism.com gives some wonderful insight to work that grey matter. Have a read and see what you think.

Fun Fact – On the end credits sequence Peter Sellers wasn’t happy to have that out-take footage. I thoroughly agree with his thoughts that it took you out of the magicalness of his character. It was still pretty funny though.

Have fun, being there…. Thanks for reading Mikey the Wolfman

Further Reading Links

1979 Being There New York Times Review by Janet Maslin
Roger Ebert Being There DVD review
Being There (1979) IMDB

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

Hard Times (1975) – Bronson Smashes

Hard Times (1975) poster vhs dvd

Working my way through director Walter Hill‘s back catalogue brings me to his debut film, the Charles Bronson smasher from 1975, Hard Times. With The Warriors being by far my most watched film of his I’ve found out this guy has a real knack for making good honest action films for the boys. The next two on the tick off list are Streets Of Fire (1984) and Johnny Handsome (1989). Plus I’m looking forward to re-watching The Driver as I haven’t seen it for donkey years and can’t remember the plot. That would bring me to seeing all his 70’s and 80’s film’s. Also toying with the idea of watching Geronimo: An American Legend (1993) and Wild Bill (1995), any good? Have you seen either of those two?

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson James Coburn meet up

In comes drifter Mr Walnut head himself, the formidable Charles Bronson, a man with awesome screen presence which gives him the ability to play the strong silent type. Bronson plays Chaney a character we don’t find too much about but get the impression he’s just happy being in The Littlest Hobo mode. But instead of helping people in need, he punches his way to a few dollars and then moves right along.

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson James Coburn first fightHard Times (1975) Charles Bronson James Coburn deal time

Set around the 1930’s in New Orleans, (I’m guessing New Orleans in 1975 still looked like the 1930’s? as the set are incredible) Chaney stumbles across the bare knuckle fighting syndicates in the back streets and factories around town. He takes note of one of the promoters, a hustling wheeler dealer and the man with the human LOL emoji smile, the one and only James Coburn, going by the name Speed.  Speed is a cocky loose canon with a loud mouth and bundles of confidence.

Tagline – NEW ORLEANS, 1933. In those days words didn’t buy much

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson james coburn Strother Martin

Speeds introduces us to the cut man, Doc Poe (Strother Martin) who informs our Chaney that he has hybred fists made for clubbing and a face structure less prone to cutting. With the three of these guys fronting money for their prize boxer, the team is all together. Now all that’s needed is a few fights to get them nearer to the big test, a certain crazy baldy fighter by the name of Jim Henry (Robert Tessier), a forever smiling brute of a man.

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson in fight mode

Speed – You know, Chick, no matter what you do, you’ll always smell like fish.

Can our three guys keep it together amongst the loan sharks, muscle men and gambling, to win the big bucks? Can our punching hero defeat the intimidating street fighting challenges to become victorious?

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson in fight mode against baldyHard Times (1975) Charles Bronson in fight mode against baldy smile

The fight scenes are fierce and raging. Bruising powerhouse punches rain down, reverberating off skulls and into ribcages. Muscle bound slabs and slams and thunderclap crushing blows fly around in real fashion, surely a few of these got thrown for real? It made for some realistic and extremely effective fight scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson final fight

Fun Fact – There’s a nice little moment when the gentle giant pops up with the name credited to Hammerman. A guy who always makes me smile since first seeing him on Sylvester Stallone’s 1978 film Paradise Alley as the wrestler Big Glory. This hulk of a man with a soft face and kind demeanor is Frank McRae a former NFL player built like a brick shithouse. He would pop up in films like Batteries Not Included, National Lampoon’s Vacation and another Sly film Lock Up to name a few.

Hard Times (1975) Frank McRae hammerman james coburn

Anyhow get watching this fun action drama as soon as you can if like me and you left it a bit late. It’s a superb piece of filmmaking with a great cast. Crack open a few beers, pile the tomato sauce and mustard on those hot dogs and keep roll the films.

Hard Times (1975) Charles Bronson mirror gun scene fight

Poe – Let’s go get the cat!

All the best…. Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Great review here – Mike’s Take On The Movies 

Some fun Hard Times Trivia on IMDB

Lots of info about Walter Hill on WIKI

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

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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

The Onion Field (1979) – Jive Talkin Criminals

The Onion Field (1979) dvd poster

I try to read as little as possible before embarking on a new film journey. All I knew about The Onion Field was it starred the brilliant James Woods as a messed up ex-con. What I wasn’t expecting was a James Woods jive talking, silver toothed, wannabe big time gangster, lunatic. He plays Gregory Ulas Powell a disturbed fast talking criminal who terrifies his new recruit to join him, a gullible recently released convict called Jimmy Lee ‘Youngblood’ Smith played by Franklyn Seales.

The Onion Field (1979) James woods gangsters
Greg, Jimmy and Billy

What I didn’t expect was a true life crime drama retelling the real events from a case which started way back in 1963. From the crime to the court cases, this film takes in the accounts of the whole unfortunate events from that one fateful day. Recounting the steps from a true crime novel written in 1973 by Joseph Wambaugh.

Tagline – What Happened In The Onion Field Is True. But The Real Crime Is What Happened After..

The Onion Field (1979) Gregory Ulas Powell Jimmy youngblood Smith

I won’t go into the specifics of the case as I try to give as little film spoiler points on my posts as possible.  I will say it’s pretty tough going but you do get rewarded with some little cameos and superb performances.

The Onion Field (1979) Ted Danson and John Savage

Ted Danson plays Detective Ian Campbell and the opening scenes have him playing the bagpipes in an old jail cell. “Just bouncing a few notes off the walls” he declares to his partner Detective Karl Hettinger played by John Savage who really just wants to be on a small farm growing tomatoes.

The Onion Field (1979) Beege Barkette 60's car

Vilos Cohaagen turns up from Total Recall aka Ronny Cox playing Sergeant Pierce R. Brooks. You get a saucy minx called Lollipop, Greg’s little girl, played by Beege Barkette. Also look out for Q from Star Trek Next Generation aka John De Lancie and old Doc Brown himself Christopher Lloyd. Oh and Blade Runner’s William Sanderson pops in as a young con.

Tagline – A True American Tragedy Captured on Film!

The Onion Field (1979) Beege Barkette james woods Franklyn Seales

All in all it’s a very harrowing account of a nasty crime and the messed up law and order politics of the time and you would hope lessons were learnt? I very much doubt it though.

Fun Fact – Brazilian samba jazz funk superstar Eumir Deodato composes the soundtrack but keeps the funky grooves to a minimum. His version of the 2001 Also Sprach Zarathustra is still totally badass.

Further reading about the case.

The Onion Field (1979) IMDB

Los Angeles Daily News 50 Years Later

Onion Field Case Encyclopedia

The Onion Field Joseph Wambaugh Goodreads

The Onion Field (1979) WIKI

White Line Fever (1975) – Mother Truckers

White Line Fever (1975) poster
An amazing poster but I’m not so bought on the likeness of Jan-Michael!

Way before Stringfellow Hawke was blowing the shit out of stuff as a renegade pilot in his battle helicopter Airwolf and not long after trying his hand at being a mechanic called Steve Mckenna working for a certain Mr Charles Bronson. Jan-Michael Vincent alterego went under the guise of Carrol Jo Hummer, a no nonsense son of a trucker, a long haul driver with a rig called Blue Mule.

White Line Fever (1975) Blue Mule truck

Tagline – Carrol Jo Hummer–A working man who’s had enough!

Now the problem is our hero CJ Hummer and his wife Jerri Kane (Kay Lenz) have taken out a pretty hefty loan to purchase the truck but all will be cool if he can get the jobs to pay for it. What they were not expecting was corruption and trafficking within the haulage industry.

White Line Fever (1975) Jan Michael Vincent and Kay Lenz

So now enters Duane (the marvelous Slim Pickens aka the loveliest BiO-sanitation Battalion you could imagine) and the bad boy with the swagger, Buck (L Q Jones) to throw a spanner in the works of our CJ’s dreams. But hey man this mother trucker ain’t taking no sheet from anyone and takes a few beatings and gives a few beatings. He is not going down lightly and with help from some old friends, Pops (Sam Laws) and Birdie (Dick Miller) and a few other workers. They all come together to fight the corrupt bosses.

White Line Fever (1975) slim pickens and saucy ladyWhite Line Fever (1975) Jan Michael Vincent LQ Jones

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan who made the other “truck” related action thriller starring Isaac Hayes and Yaphet Kotto, the mighty Truck Turner (1974).

Now the film is pretty great fun until the end when it starts to take a dark turn, what was a light hearted romp with guys smashing each other up and some good old fashioned brinkmanship. It could of kept it a little more comedic, boisterous and fun like it started but it decided to go all serious. Still a great truckers action movie to drink beer too whilst miming blowing your trucker horn.

White Line Fever (1975) Jan Michael Vincent gun bustingWhite Line Fever (1975) trucking

Film Fact – The title comes from when you’ve been driving the black top for way too long, just staring concentrating on the lines on the road, tired beyond all recognition and everything becomes one and ridiculously dangerous when you drift in and out of consciousness. You got a case of “White Line Fever” or “Highway Hypnosis”

Further Reading Links

White Line Fever (1975) IMDB

White Line Fever (1975) Mike’s Take On The Movies

White Line Fever (1975) WIKI

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

Red Sun (1971) Cowboys & Indians & Samurai!

 

Red Sun (1971) Poster

Just from the magnificent poster I had to see this, immediately. Red Sun has such an incredible international all star line up! American action monster superstar Charles Bronson, Swiss sex bomb Honey Rider aka Ursula Andress, Japanese megastar Toshiro Mifune aka Kikuchiyo of the Seven Samurai and sexy Frenchman hitman Alain Delon, a samurai from another life.

Tagline – The greatest fighting machine the west has ever known….

Red Sun (1971) charles bronson Alain Delon and samurai train

Now the story goes, a bunch of Japanese tourists decide to take a delightful train trip through the old West. Only to have their holiday disrupted by a callous bunch of bandidos and train robbers. Taking over the train and swiftly blowing up tons of stuff they make off with a whole heap of loot and a ceremonial Japanese sword which was to be presented to the President of the United States, one Ulysses S. Grant. Now these Japanese guys are not what the locals expected, these guys are tough as nails Samurai warriors. One Samurai, Kuroda Jubie (Mifune), takes on the task of tracking down the person who stole the sword and caused all this mayhem.

Red Sun (1971) Charles bronson and Toshiro Mifune 2

Chain ganged into helping Kuroda on his retrieve and destroy mission is the ever cheeky and good natured Link Stuart (Bronson). He’s not practically pleased with this situation so tries every waking minute trying to escape his serious samurai stalker. Whilst larking about with their cat and mouse actions and they start to respect and understand each other.

Tagline – The first East meets West Western!

Red Sun (1971) alain delon Gotch Gauche Kink

Being pursued is the treacherous and ruthless lefthanded gunman Gotch “Gauche” Kink (Delon) leader of a gang of wayward rebels. Gotch’s has one weakness in his hard exterior, that for the naughty and feisty strumpet Cristina (Andress). A girl who knows how to play and twist events in her favour. And as a special treat for the lads and maybe some girls too, we get to see her puppies, hubba hubba.

Red Sun (1971) charles bronson and Ursula Andress

Just to make matters worse for our traveling samurai warrior and his cowboy partner, there is also a psychotic bunch of Comanches on the loose having a pop at everyone. Can our two unconventional friends over come the baddies and restore honour in the heat of the rising red sun? Tune into this original take on the western genre to find out.

Red Sun (1971) Charles bronson and Toshiro Mifune

Directed by Terence Young who directed three massive James Bond films, Dr No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball, you know you are going to be in good hands.

Red Sun (1971) charles bronson and Ursula Andress 2

Fun Fact – Toshiro Mifune is from the Seven Samurai and Charles Bronson from the remake The Magnificent Seven.

Let me know what you thought of it if you’ve seen it,  now pass the popcorn and most importantly, have fun… All the best… Mikey Wolfman

Further Reading Links

Red Sun (1971) IMDB

Red Sun (1971) Letterboxd

Red Sun – The Spaghetti Western Database