Friday, August 19, 2022

Geisha Girl (1952)

This could have been a decent enough spy drama though is let down by whimsy and stereotypes.

Rocky (Steve Forrest) and Archie (Archer MacDonald) are two American soldiers on leave from the Korean War. They head to Tokyo, there they find their uniforms keep them out of interesting bars. They instead buy some clothes from a Japanese tailor, by coincidence the shop is the front for a diabolically evil scientist who had developed a bomb so powerful it makes the atom bomb look like a firework. Archie heads off with an example of this new bomb (which is pill sized) in his pocket...

The gang leader Nakano (Tetsu Nakamura) invites the guys back to his home, where he just so happens to have a geisha school. The guys also bring along flight attendant Peggy (Martha Hyer) who is secretly an Allied agent. Nakano and his inept thugs try repeatedly to get back the pill-bomb...

Fairly light hearted and quite ridiculous, this could though have been a solid enough spy film but is let down by the ridiculous Archie character. Obviously used for comic relief though he mostly succeeds in being pretty annoying. The bizarre hypnotist Zoro (Dekao Yokoo) is quite something though.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Split Second (1992)

A complete mess of a film, which somehow works.

It is the future (well 2008 anyway) and London is semi-submerged due to the melting ice caps. Stone (Rutger Hauer) is a maverick cop with the London police who investigates a brutal killing in a club. It seems the murderer is someone who killed his partner years before and has a liking for tearing out human hearts. 

Stone is teamed up with eager young (and book learned) detective Dirkin (Alastair Duncan) to catch this serial killer. However, Stone doesn't believe the killer is human. Soon Stone and his girlfriend Michelle (Kim Cattrall) are being targeted by the killer, who seems impervious to their guns. So they obviously need bigger guns!

A complete car crash of a film with bizarre scenes, even more bizarre plot and even even more bizarre acting at times though Hauer, Duncan and Cattrall are great throughout. The film is utter nonsense but also utterly compelling and terrific fun. A film doesn't always need to make sense to be worth a watch as long as you can suspect believe long enough and enjoy the (soggy) ride.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Border Guns (1934)

A rather staid and strangely stilted Western.

Bill Cody, a rather eccentric cowboy, arrives in town and soon gets into a fight with Fred (Franklyn Farnum), the local tough. However, the fight is a draw and they become friends. We discover that Fred is rustling cattle to sell to Mexican rebels over the border and Bill offers to join the outfit. Soon though they are both fighting for the affections of the doctor's daughter Jane (Blanche Mehaffey)...

This truly isn't a terrible film, in theory. The story is basic but workable, the action is reasonable, Bill Cody has an odd charm. However, the execution is really off. The film is plagued by odd and awkward silences and stilted dialogue. Its unfortunate, there probably was a decent film in here somewhere but its been lost on the trail somewhere.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Beatniks (1960)

Nice guy Eddie can't escape the Moon.

Eddie (Tony Travis) is part of a gang of loser punks including the ridiculous and somewhat unstable Mooney (Peter Breck) and Iris (Karen Kadler). When his singing is discovered by promoter Harry (Charles Delaney), Eddie is on a fast track to stardom. Unfortunately his gang hang onto him and drag him into their delinquent behaviour which includes murder...

A really low budget film, although called The Beatniks there arn't really any in this film though Mooney tries his best on the odd occasion to be hip in between periods of madness and scenery chewing. Eddie is such a nice guy, how he ended up leader of such a loathsome gang is the film's true mystery. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

A rather odd and also rather graphic film about an Aztec monster on a killing spree in New York.

Someone... or something... is killing people at random in NY. Detectives Shepherd (David Carradine) and Powell (Richard Roundtree) are on the case of some horrific murder cases of people being skinned alive. Are these linked to the other murders, which some eyewitnesses say are being done by a horrific looking flying creature? Shepherd begins to think so, investigating Aztec human sacrifices and the summoning of a winged serpent god (Quetzalcoatl natch), though the rest of the police are somewhat sceptical...

Low-rent cowardly crook Jimmy (Michael Moriarty) is less sceptical, especially after while on the run from the police he climbs to the top of the Chrysler building (a perfect Art Deco setting in this macabre film) and finds the creature's nest, including the remains of victims and a giant egg...

The film takes a while to come together, the early scenes with Jimmy seem completely out of place but eventually it all makes sense in a sometimes irreverent and satirical early 1980s style. The film reminds me a bit of Buckaroo Banzai at times, and as that is one of my very favourite films then that is, of course, a good thing. Not that this film is anywhere near as good as Buckaroo, it does drag at times but overall is a perfectly decent monster horror film with pretty good special effects for the day.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Prisoner of Japan (1942)

A reasonable early war film with unmistakable though not overbearing propaganda overtones.

David (Alan Baxter) appears to be a genial Westerner living on a South Sea island with his mixed race wife Loti (Corinna Mura). Certainly a number of US sailors are taken in, and even let slip a secret bit of information. That is a shame as David's set-up is a complete sham. Really the island has a secret Japanese base with a radio direction finder run by the sinister Matsuru (Ernst Deutsch). The US Navy soon loses another ship to Japanese bombers.

Toni (Gertrude Michael) turns up at the island hoping to reunite with David who she met once, though in his distressed alcoholic state he can hardly remember anyone. Toni and David are soon fighting Matsuru to prevent the Japanese attacking and destroying an Allied convoy...

Quite a reasonable war film that makes the most out of a tiny budget and more or less one set. Though don't ask why the "Japanese" commander is played by an Austrian man called Mr German.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Virgin in Hollywood (1953)

A curious and generally pretty awful little film.

Darla (Dorothy Abbott) is a small town reporter who is sent to Hollywood to get the real deal on the home of dreams. Her trip to Hollywood runs into trouble almost immediately when she gets chased around some ruins by Playboy models. She also ends up in a rather tame burlesque club and encounters some of the strange menfolk (including a rather terrible comedian)... and womenfolk... of tinsel town in a series of "adventures".

A very strange film with a tiny budget, the running time padded out by inserted two out-of-context 3-D short films in the centre of it! Its a shame that this was long-time bit-part actor Abbott's only starring role, she deserved a lot better than this nonsense. Truly terrible - definitely one of the worst films ever made - though pretty compelling watching of course!