January 2, 2017

Crescendo (1970)

PHWOAAARRRR!! JANE LAPOTAIRE!!" Now, how many times have you ever uttered that sentence in everyday conversation? Not many, I'll wager. One look at her sultry performance in Crescendo, and you'll soon find your perception of this relatively demure character actress altering in a way you hadn't imagined. That is, of course, unless you've seen the movie before, in which case you'll either agree with me already or, (as in the case of some commentators on IMDB) maybe you won't. Crescendo is an … [Read more...]

The Forgotten Man: The Films of Maxwell Reed

During a chat show appearance in 2007, the actress Joan Collins was shown a clip of one of her early screen performances. The film in question was THE SQUARE RING (1953), an excellent boxing drama from Ealing Studios. The clip provoked a good deal of mirth from both Joan and her interviewer as she recalled the making of the film quite clearly. However, neither of them mentioned the very tall, good looking young actor appearing opposite her. He had been a ‘matinee idol’ … [Read more...]

Legend of the Witches (1970)

"THE BODY OF CHRIST". "THE BODY OF CHRIST". "THE BLOOD OF CHRIST". "THE BODY OF CHRIST". "THE BLOOD OF CHRIST". Talk about labouring the point!! And so runs one of the best-known sections of this near-legendary Britsploitation documentary; that is among the small yet fervent circle of people who have actually seen it. Even though it has now been broadcast on cable TV and is freely available on DVD in roadside garages, Malcolm Leigh's documentary Legend Of The Witches remains one of those films … [Read more...]

Tod Slaughter: Barnstorming Butcher of Melodramatic Menace

Several years ago, a young ‘expert’ (or so he seemed intent on telling everyone) on the British Horror genre, who shall remain nameless, held a lecture at an also-unnamed UK film festival, at which his opening gambit consisted rather bravely and foolishly of the assertion that British Horror had begun in 1956 with Hammer’s The Curse Of Frankenstein. The fact that he had overlooked the same company’s groundbreaking The Quatermass X-periment a year earlier, … [Read more...]

Clegg (1969)

A twanging guitar, a damp forest (could only be Britain, folks) and some brown dilapidated buildings- is it a Pete Walker movie? A Ray Selfe-helmed sexploitation mondo travelogue? No, it's Lindsay Shonteff's very own CLEGG. Bringing a whole new dimension to the words 'cheap' and 'low budget', this extremely enjoyable and fast-paced, grimy private eye thriller from 1968 is the most recent addition to the list of Shonteff films I have seen. Admittedly I haven't seen many others (I think … [Read more...]

Our Mutual Friend (BBC, 1976)

`Our Mutual Friend` (1976) is a faithful portrayal of the final novel by Charles Dickens written in the years 1864-1865, at a time when England was at the peak of Victorian social segregation. Dickens has often been criticised for rushing the end of this novel, however this is not apparent in this BBC production of 1976. It is a wonder why this dramatisation has taken so long to become available on DVD as this BBC drama adaptation is like none other with its collaboration of cast, set design and … [Read more...]

Fanatic (1965)

Sometimes the plot expediency in British Horror films, even though we love them, beggar’s belief. I've heard of people walking right into things, but, if your former boyfriend had committed suicide and you were about to embark on a new relationship with the man you'd finally decided was the true love of your life, would you risk dropping yourself right in it by popping round to visit the dead ex's batty old actress mum, who even he didn't care much for, at her crumbling country retreat … [Read more...]