Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fail-Safe, Sidney Lumet, 1964

Made the same year as Dr Strangelove, it covered the same territory. Much if it takes place in the War Room. They watch the planes on the big board. Fail-Safe was an independent film. Its release was delayed so Dr Strangelove would be first.

Supersonic U.S. bombers mistakenly head off to nuke Moscow and can’t be recalled. The U.S. president Henry Fonda, speaking through interpreter Larry Hagman, talks to the Soviet premiere by phone.

In this movie, the president can essentially order people to commit suicide and they’ll do it. There are the bomber crews, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow who waits to die on the roof of the embassy rather than fleeing into the countryside, and there are fighter pilots who run out of fuel and go down in the arctic ocean trying to shoot down the planes.
If I were in a bomber and the president’s voice came over the radio telling me to turn around, I think the wise thing to do would be to turn around. Why kill yourself blowing up a city full of people when you have an excuse not to? If it turns out to be a Soviet guy doing an impression of the president, let them have that victory. Make the guy happy.

With Walter Matthau expressing the same views George C. Scott did in Dr Stangelove. With Dom DeLuise and Sorrell Brooke.

Directed by Sidney Lumet.
Free on Movieland.Tv.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Satanists come to town. They brutalize a young woman. When her grandfather, a veterinarian, goes to confront them, they rough him up, force him to take LSD and send him home.

So the 11-year-old brother/grandson takes matters into his hands. You have to admire him for that, but it turns out that infecting people with rabies can backfire. It quicky infects some workers who come to the tiny community to help.

They took the term "hydrophobia" too literally. In this movie, you can ward off the zombie-like rabies victims with a garden hose or by splashing water on them. 

I'll warn you, though. It would have been a perfectly nice movie about a child getting even with Satan worshipers if they hadn't done terrible things to animals. They didn't kill any on camera, but there was a dead chicken, a number of dead rats and a dead goat. Why do they do that?

The kid in it, Riley Mills, had been a stage actor. He has two credits on IMDb---this and an episode Family Affair. The poor guy died in 2001 at age 42.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Columbo, Prescription: Murder (Made-for-TV, 1968)

Peter Falk looks so young. He's kind of a jerk in this one, although he was being a jerk to the accomplice of a psychopathic killer so I shouldn't hold that against him. 

In recent discussions of "The Goldwater Rule", it was pointed out how far psychiatry has advanced since the '60s. Psychiatrists back then were Freudians. They declared Goldwater unfit for office due to toilet training and oedipal issues. 

So a psychiatrist like the one in this movie might not have recognized his own psychopathy and thought he was just being logical when he slept with his patient and murdered his wife.

I didn't like the ending. There was at least one later episode where Columbo uses the same trick to catch the killer. Anyone could have done that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Accused of Murder (1956)

A film noir in color they're showing on the Criterion Channel. It was quite bad, I'm afraid, although it might be a lesson for young people that nothing good can come of talking to police. The Czechoslovakian emigre they suspect of the crime keeps telling the detective how much she trusts him and believes him when he tells her she doesn't need a lawyer.

A corrupt attorney is shot dead in his beautiful Lincoln Continental Mark II.

Wide screen. Mostly medium shot. It's a Republic picture and there were a lot takes where they did that old B movie thing where two people are speaking and they both face the camera, one closer to it than the other. It works very well.

Lee Van Cleef as a weirdly evil police sergeant who chuckles when he walks in on the lieutenant making out with a suspect. He and Elisha Cook were the only actors I recognized.

There was really no one to get behind. There was the woman who worked in a dance club who spotted the hitman given the task of murdering the victim. She tried to blackmail him but got drunk and went about it in a terribly unwise way. Just an old B movie except in color.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

"King" Charles cracks down on royal subjects

"Oy! What's all this then!"
The British are now arresting people for criticizing monarchy. It was reported a couple of years ago that when the queen finally died, they were going to get Charles coronated very quickly, before people started questioning whether they needed a parasitic royal family at all.

A professor was arrested for yelling "Who elected him!" at an appearance by Charles. Cops dragged him away and said they may still charge him with a crime for---asking. Even implied criticism is a crime. 

Maybe leaving the EU means they no longer have free speech protections normal countries have.

I would have been tempted to yell, "Who died and made you king!" and then, as police dragged me away, I would tell them "I was asking a question!" Then I'd demand to speak to the American consulate.

Big Game (Finland, 2014)

It was the opposite of Air Force One. The president's 747 is shot down in the mountains of Finland. He's freed from his escape pod by tween Laplander Onni Tommila who was in the woods alone with a bow and arrow to prove himself as a hunter for his thirteenth birthday. He's crushed to discover that his father has no faith in his ability to do this. "I am nothing," he says.  He decides that saving the president (Samuel L. Jackson) from terrorists bent on capturing him is just as good as killing a deer. And the president definitely needs help. He was no Harrison Ford.

The amazing thing to me is that it was made for $10 million. Not enough for a Woody Allen movie, but they get way, WAY more for their money in Europe, especially Finland, apparently. Why do Allen's movies cost so much?

There's a reference to E.T. The president with a blanket over him looking like the alien in the basket of Elliot's bicycle. At one point, Onni tells the president, "My forest, my rules," which was like a line from The King's Speech although it's a strange place for that reference if it was one. And they recreate one of the less plausible moments from Tommila's earlier film, Rare Exports which was also written and directed by his uncle, Jalmari Helander, with his father, Jorma Tommila, playing his father.

They did come up with a plausible reason for abducting or killing the president, something other movies fail to do. There is a vice president, after all. It's not going to change anything.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

My dream about the queen's death

I told about this before.

A few years ago, I dreamed I was in England to attend the queen's funeral. The queen was lying in state somewhere and I was going to go pay my respects such as they were, but I didn't know where she was. There was a cop standing there, so I was going to go ask him, "Where's the queen at?" But then I realized that since the queen was dead, there was a NEW queen and he wouldn't know if I meant the late queen or the new queen, so I didn't ask.

I slowly woke up and realized that I could have phrased the question differently and if the guy misunderstood, I could explain what I meant.

I also realized that if the queen really was dead, I might be psychic so I quickly googled it and, no, she was fine.