It’s amazing how for a while after the debut of Columbo, pretty much every noir detective character type seems to have gravitationally attracted Peter Falk. Not that there were all that many such roles to go around. It turns out this is parodying Humphrey Bogart specifically, but basically all Bogart films, compared to Murder By Death, which is specifically a Sam Spade parody.
It’s probably not a good sign that this movie is so jam-packed with big name actors and I’ve only heard of it by cruising the back catalogs of streaming platforms, but on the other hand, anything from before 1998 that isn’t an 80s or 90s cult classic is getting hard to find online. Which is a shame because there are a lot of great movies over 40 years old.
There were three things that I knew about this movie when I decided I had to watch and review it:
It has George C. Scott
It features a plot to train a dolphin as an assassin
This insane pitch is a real movie made in the 70s.
It turns out that this is based on a novel, because even in the 70s, Hollywood can’t be so creative to put The Manchurian Candidate underwater. I also suspect that this was inspired by the ketamine-fueled investigations into dolphin speech by John C Lilly.
For such an iconic movie, foundational to the modern horror genre, I find myself realizing how little I know about this movie. I know a lot around it, like how it was meant to be an anthology franchise, but continuing the Michael Myers story in the second movie locked in audiences to expect the series to be about him, the mask is a modified Captain Kirk mask, Jamie Lee Curtis began her film career here and is amazingly making direct sequels to it almost 45 years later. But what goes on within the movie? Well, there’s a slasher, and he kills people. Maybe that’s all that was necessary back when the slasher genre was being invented.
This is lauded as possibly the best martial arts movie of all time, but I’m looking for something about the story to interest me and it seems like the barest excuse plot. British Intelligence goes to a martial arts instructor and points him at a crime lord. Oh, I guess there’s a tournament he’s going undercover in to get close to the bad guy. That’s a bit better than them just saying “go fetch”, but it’s still a pretty thin plot.
I would say the fights need to be exceptionally good to make up for the sketchy plot, but of course they are. That’s what everyone already cared about with this movie. I feel like I’m being weird for asking it to also have a story.
This is a lot of big names for a movie I’ve never heard of. Though I’m probably not familiar with most of Beatty and Channing’s work, I am surprised that it hasn’t come up as a Jack Nicholson movie.
I’m surprised just how often the Mann Act comes up in movie plots. While it does have exceptionally broad language thanks to 1910s euphemisms (“immoral purposes”), the number of times I’ve seen movies from before the 80s invoke it about men who take their girlfriends on a trip and run afoul of the law is starting to make me think that Hollywood writers were as ticked off about it as the Hays Code and anti-communist blacklisting.
The comedy arising from a pair of con artists trying badly to con a mark reminds me a bit of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but there’s no bet or competition, from what I can tell. They’re not sabotaging each other, they’re just honestly bad at this.
While the title isn’t very indicative of what the movie is about, upon reading that it’s about an astronaut accidentally winding up in the time of King Arthur, I’m incredibly unsurprised that it’s an adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court but jazzed up with space. And a robot too, for good measure. I hope the “android double” won’t be too ridiculous.
I’m not sure if I’ve actually seen Jim Dale perform in anything, but of course I know him pretty well as the audiobook narrator for the Harry Potter series in the US. I would not have expected him for Mordred though. A few of the other names are vaguely familiar but I can’t tie them to anything specific.
I’ve probably seen Charles Bronson in things before, but I don’t really recall him, and I don’t seem to have a tag for him. He is playing very against type in this movie, but I don’t really have a bearing on what that is other than “macho”.
I’m also not really clear on what this is about, since every summary I’ve seen seems to pick a different thread to focus on. There’s a bank robber who leaves his gang, there’s a widow whose story becomes a famous book, and it all starts with a life-changing three hours they spend together, and this is in some way a comedy. I hope I can keep my synopsis coherent.
In the 60s and 70s, Disney’s live action movies department came up with some pretty outlandish ideas. Some of them are cartoon ideas, but done in live action, some are just… did they throw darts at a board or something?
This is an adventure about an extraterrestrial cat. There’s some humans trying to help the stranded alien cat get home and some other humans trying to steal the cat’s technology, and I don’t really know much more than that, which I learned only minutes ago.
This always seemed a strange choice for Disney, even considering the weird live action movies they made in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The trailer I dimly remember seeing for it on some tape seemed dark and scary and serious, not the kind of fanciful family outing that most Disney live action movies try to be. I’ve heard there are fun comic relief robots for the kids, but this always seemed to be positioned as “Disney does Star Wars” (which took about three and a half decades to actually happen).
The synopses I’ve seen are not much help for shaking this notion. It seems like Alien meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. A deep space mission with a sense of foreboding encounters a mystery that ultimately takes them beyond anything the reality we know prepared them for. You know, for kids!
A hotel cook starts disco dancing to impress a girl because he happens to have a resemblance to John Travolta is pretty much all I have to go on for this movie. Also it was produced in Italian. I assume things get out of hand.