Beach Red (1967) It’s Not Just A War Movie!

Beach Red (1967) - Cornel Wilde World War 2 poster film movie

After being so impressed with director and star Cornel Wilde in magnificent form with his chase movie The Naked Prey I had been excitingly awaiting his 1967 follow up Beach Red. This time he stars as a Captain MacDonald, a leader of a US marine unit sent in to fight the might of the Japanese who have a stronghold on a small island in the Pacific during World War 2.

Beach Red (1967) - Cornel Wilde World War 2 soldier marine battleship

Cornel takes the pacifist anti-war film approach and includes a very everyday man feel to it. You get introduced to the soldiers whilst they are circling around the rough sea onboard their landing craft ready to go into hell as they ready themselves for the beach attack.

It isn’t long before they are given the orders to attack the beach and what transpires is pretty horrific and quite the set piece. For the time, I can imagine this mass beach invasion to have looked very impressive, which it still does. I read and could see clear inspiration to the brutal realism on the D-Day landing sequence in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. It might not have the money and the effects but it’s certainly effective.

Beach Red (1967) - Cornel Wilde World War beach invasion d-day landingBeach Red (1967) - battle on the beach pacific d day landing invasion

What sets this film aside from more gung-ho war films of the time is it’s approach to show a different side to the horrors. Imagery and narration is used in a surreal way to show the morbid reality of war, a cockroach under a boot, a butterfly caught in a spider’s web and the knowledge that most of the insects and plants are out to get you.

We hear little excerpts from each of the marines as inner monologues and daydreams, their fears, worries and feelings for loved ones or even just for everyday chores. Captain MacDonald mutters to himself that he must buy some new glasses when he gets home.

Beach Red (1967) - egan tins of beans cliff
Egan loves his beans.

Also, which is refreshing, is the portrayal of the Japanese soldiers. You see visions of their past lives, like a rice farmer who has been taken away from his wife and young family as he fondly remembers back to his former life.

Beach Red (1967) - battle on the beach pacific japanese soldiers armyBeach Red (1967) - battle on the beach pacific japanese soldiers army 2

Capt MacDonald flashes back to his last encounters with his wife and family whilst Private Egan (Burr DeBenningrecalls his past lady friend hook ups, which leads to a great scene with him drunk as a skunk messing around with a gorgeous leggy lass twice his size. Played by “Tall Girl” Linda Albertano at 6’4″ and damn sexy too.

Beach Red (1967) - leggy tall dancing girl small drunk eganBeach Red (1967) - rip torn Sergeant Honeywell

Total bad ass Sergeant Honeywell played by Rip Torn gets to fire off the films best line.

“”I’m gonna bayonet ’em, break their arms, so they don’t give me no more trouble! That’s what we’re here for… To kill… The rest is all crap!””

Beach Red (1967) - Cornel Wilde in battle

Captain MacDonald gets a good one in too as he tell redneck Private Egan who can’t stop eating tins of beans.

“I’ll put you in for a new medal, Egan…… for abdominal fortitude”

Some of the dialogue and acting is a little rough round the edges but it’s heart is very much in the right place. Well worth tracking it if you haven’t seen it, or if you have, what did you think?

Beach Red (1967) - battle on the beach pacific d day landing invasion fight

Here’s the trailer which is really awesome. It edits pretty much everything in under 3 minutes. I suggest you watch the film first if you gonna see it soon but if you can’t wait, go for it.

Beach Red (1967) - opening film title credits screen shot

Cul-De-Sac (1966) Eggs, Mead and Pleasence in a Dress

Cul-De-Sac (1966)

Can you judge a film by it’s cover? Yeah course you can in this case! Flicking through a few movie titles on a search for something different I stumbled across the intriguing title of Cul-De-Sac. What grabbed me in was the minimalist artwork from the cover of The Criterion Collection release and then the hook, line and sinker, Donald Pleasence. Oh I do love a good Donald performance and this film highlights his quirky style to the fullest.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) Jan Lenica Roman Polanski film poster art

Then I saw the original poster artwork from Jan Lenica and that settled it, this film was going to be awesome no matter what and you know what dude, it’s absolutely fabulous. Two hours of just beautifully made tension, comedy, banter and wonder. All from three main characters and one real setting, a 15th century castle called Lindisfarne.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) causeway car intro start

A quick glance at the plot summary.

“Two wounded gangsters on the run find refuge in the secluded castle of a feeble man and his wife in search of help, however, under the point of a gun nothing is what it seems…”

What aspired was a thoroughly absorbing film which I just could not keep my peepers off. Not what I was expecting from the synopsis and all the more fun because of it.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) Donald Pleasence Francoise Dorleac in dress funCul-De-Sac (1966) beautiful Francoise Dorleac nude back smoking

Donald Pleasence plays George an eccentric middle aged gentleman who has sold his business and purchased a castle as a retreat for himself and his young beautiful, saucy flirtatious French wife Teresa played by Francoise Dorleac. This castle is situated out on a causeway which gets surrounded by the tides making it an ideal secluded hideaway. Life is spent painting and making mead wine and eating eggs, hundreds of eggs. Teresa makes atomic strength vodka, plays records and entertains a few friends if you know what I mean!

Cul-De-Sac (1966) Donald Pleasence Lionel Stander beach.Cul-De-Sac (1966) Donald Pleasence Francoise Dorleac Lionel Stander.

What comes to turn things upside down is the arrival of two men caught driving along the causeway by the incoming tides in a truly delightful filmed opening sequence. Injured and “driving” the car is Albie played by Jack MacGowran and looking out for him is his partner, the hulkish Richard played with such passion by Hart To Hart’s Max, the wonderful talent of Lionel Stander.

They are on the run from a job gone sour and stumble across this hideaway. Waiting to get picked up from their gangster employer they take over the castle until they get rescued. The beauty is Richard’s character, he catches you off guard as this brutish hulk with his gravelly voice and giant size but under that frame is an almost innocent sweet nature which he turns off and on, hot and cold.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) chickens Lionel Stander beach.

If you haven’t seen it before I thoroughly recommend you tracking it down as it’s a real joy, the situations  and character building with the unconventional way the story develops and plays out is masterful. Directed by Roman Polanski and co written by himself and Gerard Brach. If you have seen it, what did you think?

Cul-De-Sac (1966) beautiful Francoise Dorleac

Sad Fact – After enjoying the alluring beauty and fun performance by Françoise Dorléac it was so sad to read she died in a car chase at the young age of 25. Her sister Catherine Deneuve went on to be a big star and I notice that the two sisters starred in a 1967 film together called The Young Girls Of Rochefort. It sounds like a fun film and be nice to see more Françoise Dorléac. Any recommendations, please let me know.

Cul-De-Sac (1966) beautiful Francoise Dorleac record player vinyl jazz smoking

By the way that quirky jazz record Teresa puts on the turntable is by Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda who scores the soundtrack. Here is that record to play us out.

Love film, relax, eat, drink and be entertained by the art of film. Love Wolfie x

The Exterminating Angel (1962) – Sacrificial Lamb Satire

The Exterminating Angel (1962) art poster image film movie

When it comes to movie titles, The Exterminating Angel is pretty spectacular. Being that I only read a small synopsis for the plot I had imagined it would be in the vein of Agatha Christie’sAnd Then There None” and that the exterminating angel was a description of some femme fatale who was unleashing her wrath on the unexpecting party guests. Haha how wrong could I have been!

Luis Buñuel

This, I find out to my complete joy and fascination is a film by Spanish director Luis Buñuel. A true master of surrealism and credited to be one of the most original directors in the history of film medium! Doh I knew the name but had never seen anything by him. Well you have to start somewhere I guess and the beauty is, I now have a whole bunch of his movies to blow my mind and if The Exterminating Angel is anything to go by, I’m in for some real treats.

The Exterminating Angel (1962) house party upper class guests 1

Tagline – The degeneration of high society!

Upper class Edmundo Nóbile and his wife, Lucia invite a bunch of friends and associates back to their luxury mansion for music and late night drinks. As the night continues on into the early hours everyone starts to settle down to sleep on the couches, sofas and even the floor. When morning arrives no one seems keen to leave. Even when they start to feel the need to return to their homes, family or work, they find that once they reach the threshold of the opened doorway they can’t quite bring themselves to walk across it. This predicament carries on and on, causing all manner of countless problems for our guests.

The Exterminating Angel (1962) house party upper class guests 2The Exterminating Angel (1962) house party upper class guests 3

The film is filled with dread, panic and depression, with symbolism and surreal moments aplenty as waves of dreams and delirium take over as food and water runs dry and sleep desperation sets in. Within the horror there is an undercurrent of dark comic humour as these rich aristocracy get brought down a peg or two. What happened and how does it end? Well you have to watch it but Luis Buñuel lets the viewer come up with his own interpretation and it makes the film so much more because of it.

The Exterminating Angel (1962) house party upper class guests water drinking

Luis Buñuel also wrote the screenplay and story which features such fine dialogue and banter lead interactions. Being set in one room I can only imagine it would make the perfect stage play, it’s such a wonderful film and the whole reason I do this blog to find gems like these. One very happy wolfie.

Luis Buñuel quote – Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.

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

The Collector (1965) – Stamp Collecting

The Collector (1965)

Social misfit and butterfly collector Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp) prowls the streets of London in his Ford Thames 400E van stalking his childhood fascination, the beautiful art student Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar). With his trusty bottle of chloroform to hand, he hopes that after keeping her hostage she will grow to love him.

Freddie’s inner monologue – “I knew where she was every minute of the day!”

The Collector (1965) Stamps new home

Freddie looks and waddles around in much the same way as the Penguin in the series Gotham. He’s a former picked on bank clerk who came into some big money but unfortunately has way too much time on his hands.

The Collector (1965) Terence Stamp fire basement dungeon

Miranda is a feisty young lass who gives a good fight in her unfortunate predicament locked away in an ancient windowless stone basement. Trying to play him and find a weaknesses in the unbalanced loners psyche.

The Collector (1965) sexy Samantha Eggar

It’s a dark premise that the two young leads both give tremendous performances. Two hours might be a tad too long for some with the slow pace but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold. Read there was actually a 3 hour cut which director William Wyler wasn’t at all happy with chopping right back, completely removing a role by Kenneth More.

The Collector (1965) Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar

William Wyler the director of mega classic Ben Hur apparently turned down making The Sound Of Music for this project. The Collector might be small in comparison to that giant successful film but it did win a host of awards with Oscars Nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director and Best Writing and Screenplay by Stanley Mann and John Kohn. Plus Samantha Eggar won Best Actress Golden Globe and at the Cannes Film Festival where Terence Stamp joined her, adding Best Actor.

The Collector (1965) Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp

Fun Fact 1 – William Wyler is said to have asked Terence Stamp to ignore Samantha Eggar, giving her the cold shoulder off the set as much as possible without her knowing to add to the tension between the two actors.

Fun Fact 2 – British punk mod band The Jam released a single called The Butterfly Collector with it’s title being said to have been inspired by the film! It features on the B-side to Strange Town

Further Reading Links

The Collector (1965) IMDB

The Collector (1965) Twenty Four Frames 

The Collector (1965) New York Times Review Bosley Crowther 1965

Wait Until Dark (1967) – Blind Crime

Wait Until Dark (1967) Poster

Gonna start at the end on this one, don’t worry, no spoilers. After this excellent film finished the final theme tune came on whilst it showcased the players and you know what dude, that ditty from Henry Mancini with Sue Raney gorgeous voice hit me for six. What a stunning little bossa jazz number that I just wish went on and on, Wait Until Dark, just so beautiful.

If like me you’re one of like 15 people on Earth that hasn’t seen this horror thriller film before here’s a little synopsis of the plot.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Audrey Hepburn & Efrem Zimbalist Jr

A naughty girl called Lisa (Samantha Jones) picks up a consignment of drugs hidden inside a doll. On route home at the airport she palms the doll off to an unexpecting a fellow passenger, a photographer called Sam Hendrix played by the fabulously named, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Audrey Hepburn & Richard Crenna

Now Sam is married to a delightful young lady called Susy who is unfortunately blind from an accident. Now Susy Hendrix, played with great tenderness and passion by the lovely Audrey Hepburn, is a very determined lady despite her predicament. But sadly she has a barrage of problems coming her way.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Alan Arkin Richard Crenna jack weston

In comes, not one but three bad guys to mess with our heroine’s mind and try to find this doll with the merchandise. Two crooked friends, one played by Rambo’s buddy Colonel Samuel Trautman aka Richard Crenna who plays Mike Talman and his chubby sidekick Carlino played by Jack Weston.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Alan Arkin creepy

Now the third dodgy geezer is Alan Arkin, a practically scary dude with a weird hair do and a taste for terrorising and playing people to his own means. This character is called Roat and I’m not sure if I’ve seen Alan Arkin play a bad guy before? Anyway he does a good job.

Now can our Suzy work out what the hell is going on as strange deluge of people just keep barging into her apartment building telling yarns and slowly messing with the poor girl’s mind.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Audrey Hepburn match lit

To be honest a lot of this trouble would of been stopped if only she LOCK THE BLOODY DOOR! But hey we wouldn’t get a the entertaining back and forth between all the players which really has all the feel and touch of a great Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Directed by Terence Young who made the allstar star cast western action film Red Sun and three big Bond films with Sean Connery, Dr No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball.

Wait Until Dark (1967) intro title

It’s suspenseful, extremely well acted, great script and loads of thrills plus Miss Audrey Hepburn is adorable. Well worth adding to your “watch list” if you haven’t seen it.

Further Reading Links

Wait Until Dark (1967) IMDB

Wait Until Dark (1967) Alfred Hitchcock Geek Blog

The New York Times Review October 1967

Wait Until Dark (1967) WIKI

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”#

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