Sergeant Deadhead

Sergeant Deadhead. Alta Vista Productions 1965.

Before watching the movie:

From how hard the movie is trying to be sold as a wacky comedy, I would expect that the change that Avalon’s undergoes in space would be really wacky, like he comes back really loopy, or having switched minds with his simian copilot. At the very least, “Deadhead” suggests to me an “idiot comes turns smart” story, which isn’t necessarily funny. But the summary I read says that he returns with a more “aggressive” personality. That doesn’t necessarily sound funny. Maybe it’s funny because he’s aggressive like a chihuahua, overconfident in his abilities.

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Gorgo

Gorgo. King Brothers Productions 1961.

Before watching the movie:

I’m sure nobody wanted audiences to think this was Godzilla with a bit of a King Kong plot. It’s a giant monster movie, but this time in London because it’s a UK production. That’s about all that one can expect, I guess. Specifically, the monster is taken back to London from the place it was found to be shown off, but its mother comes and stomps everything.

Western kaiju movie. I don’t know what more to say. Some of the names are slightly familiar but I couldn’t place them to anything specific.

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Eight on the Lam

Eight on the Lam.
Hope Enterprises 1967

Before watching the movie:

I keep thinking of this as a large-cast bank heist movie and it isn’t. That’s probably because I keep connecting it to Bank Shot, and it doesn’t really have much in common with that movie.

The cast is pretty exciting though. Hope, Winters, and Diller all together might be an interesting mixture.

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What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
The Mirisch Company 1966.

Before watching the movie:

The two keywords that got me interested are “Blake Edwards” and “James Coburn”. There are quite a lot of WWII farces around by now, and I’m certainly no stranger to them, but a Blake Edwards farce sounds highly promising, and I’ve enjoyed James Coburn in comedies from the time as well.

From what I’ve seen, I’m not sure the title has much to do with how the story is told, unless all of the summaries I’ve read completely ignore a framing device. The unreliable narrator aspect shown on this poster is a good starting point for what I’d want to do with a story with a title like that, but I don’t expect to see it in the movie.

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The Wackiest Ship in the Army

The Wackiest Ship in the Army.
Columbia Pictures 1960.

Before watching the movie:

Every time I see this title, I get a little disappointed it’s not The Ship with the Flat Tire, which apparently didn’t amount to much of anything outside of the enjoyment of the few who read it and has probably been out of print since the 60s.

This looks like a pretty standard farce with a misfit crew and a leaky boat, but Jack Lemmon will probably give it a good turn. What will make it distinctive is how colorful the eccentric characters are.

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Cinderfella

Cinderfella Paramount Pictures 1960.

Before watching the movie:

It seems a natural fit that a comedian who often plays meek nice guys would eventually land in a genderbent fairytale. If Jerry Lewis has a specialty in stories, it may well be nebbish men’s wish fulfilment fantasies, and few stories are more wish fulfilment than Cinderella.

In an era where we’re taking our traditionally white male role model character roles and trying to be conscious about putting more women and people of color there, it may seem a little backward to turn one of the canon fairytale princesses into Jerry Lewis, but I think the reason I’m not too discomforted by it is that Cinderella is a pretty classical feminine role type, and it’s not a position one would expect to find a fictional man who is the protagonist in. So it’s an underutilized permutation that stands exploring in media.

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Day of the Triffids

Day of the Triffids. Security Pictures 1963.

Before watching the movie:

The Triffids are an iconic piece of science fiction. Any locomoting plants in sci-fi stories will inevitably be compared with them.

The full-color alien invasion horror movie aspect makes me think about Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but there doesn’t really seem to be much in common between “anyone near you could have been replaced by an alien” and “run from that twenty-foot tall walking plant”. If there’s an allegory for something in the public consciousness in the 60s here, I’m not sure what it would be.

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Windsor Productions 1961.

Before watching the movie:

I’m entirely unfamiliar with this movie, but it involves shooting nuclear missiles at the Van Allen Belt to put out a fire, so the science is patently ridiculous. Apparently somehow this leads into a monster, but I’m not sure if the missiles create the monster, or if they encounter the monster on the way to where they need to shoot the missiles.

I know I’ve seen Walter Pidgeon in something, but I think the only thing is Forbidden Planet, which is completely overshadowed in my memory by showing Leslie Nielson in a serious role.

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The Endless Summer

The Endless Summer. Bruce Brown Films 1966.

Before watching the movie:

I wouldn’t have thought that surfing would make an interesting topic for a documentary until I saw that this existed. Maybe that’s one of the functions of good documentary film, to highlight things about the world you wouldn’t have thought you’d be interested to learn about. Apparently the director made a series of several surfing docs over ten years, which seems a bit much, but this seems to be considered the best.

I’m hoping to see 95 minutes painting the picture on the poster, living in the world of the 60s surfing scene and memorializing how great it was.

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