Moviedrome Mondays: Performance (1970)

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Though I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing directors Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s 1970 seminal British cult classic Performance, I did find one of Cox presenting it during (I believe) a one-time Summer programming event on BBC Two entitled Forbidden Weekend back in 1995 (read here). Nevertheless, one can read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 7, 1991 (read here). Speaking as a huge fan of both Roeg and Cammell, perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Performance is that it cemented both Roeg and Cammell’s status as daring original filmmakers. If any of you readers are interested, here are two links to a list of my favorite Nicolas Roeg films (read here) and Donald Cammell films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s intro to Performance during BBC Two’s 1995 summer programming event entitled Forbidden Weekend


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

My Favorite Alan Rudolph Films

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* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Choose Me (1984)

2.   Remember My Name (1978)

3.   Afterglow (1997)

4.   The Moderns (1988)

5.   Trouble in Mind (1985)

6.   Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Songwriter (1984)

2.   The Secret Lives of Dentists (2002)

3.   Welcome to L.A. (1976)

Moviedrome Mondays: Badlands (1973) and The Prowler (1951)

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This Moviedrome Monday entry is going to be slightly different from the others. In this case, it marked the first time that the series showed two films instead of one.

Badlands (1973)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing legendary director Terrence Malick’s 1973 lovers-on-the-lam classic Badlands, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 30, 1991 (read here). Badlands served as Malick’s directorial debut and in retrospect, it marked the beginning of a master filmmaker. Every trademark that we associate Malick with, comes in full circle here – including, but not limited to, beautiful cinematography and music. As with all of Malick’s best films, the result truly feels like poetry in motion. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Terrence Malick films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer


The Prowler (1951)

Once again, I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Joseph Losey’s 1951 film-noir thriller The Prowler, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 30, 1991 (read here). Though I wholeheartedly agree with Cox in his implication that Losey was a hero, I draw the line at the suggestion that he was a great filmmaker on a whole. For me, 1963’s The Damned (released here in the U.S. as These Are the Damned) still remains my favorite Losey film, but this one (i.e. The Prowler) is very good. Perhaps the highest compliment I can give it is that it’s themes still remain timely to this day.

Note: Losey’s The Damned is a science-fiction horror film and it should not be confused with master Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti’s 1969 historical drama of the same name (also titled The Damned), which is another great film.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Carnival of Souls (1962)

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I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of director Herk Harvey’s 1962 independent gem Carnival of Souls – the only film he ever made. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 23, 1991 (read here). Not much more I can say about this low-budget item other than to nod in agreement with everything Cox has said about it. Along with Leonard Kastle’s The Honeymoon Killers (another Moviedrome Monday entry) and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Harvey’s Carnival of Souls stands out as one of the most influential cult films ever made.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Carnival of Souls


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Something Wild (1986)

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I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of director Jonathan Demme’s 1986 quirky romantic comedy Something Wild. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 9, 1991 (read here). Lots of positive things can be said about Something Wild as Cox so eloquently implies. For starters, the chemistry between it’s lead actors Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith is simply delightful and along the ride, we get a breakthrough supporting performance from future Goodfella Ray Liotta as a violent tempered ex-convict. Though it may seem uneven on the surface, at the center, the buildup to the film’s shocking climax, actually comes off as 100 percent believable in it’s unpredictability. For an unrelated example, based on real life as a whole, an individual’s day can start happy and remain that way before ending (unexpectedly) in tragedy. Last, but not least, viewers are treated to an eclectic soundtrack that ranges from rock (Fine Young Cannibals), new wave (Oingo Boingo) and reggae (Jimmy Cliff) among others. If you readers are interested in reading a list of my favorite Jonathan Demme films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Something Wild

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Knightriders (1981)

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I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to director/writer George A. Romero’s 1981 independent drama Knightriders. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 2, 1991 (read here). Along with There’s Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch (both from 1973), Knightriders is notable for being one of Romero’s few non-horror films. How can I briefly sum up this film? Well, think of jousting, but with motorcycles instead of horses. This makes up the surface of the plot, which deals with the trials and tribulations of a traveling renaissance fair troupe from Pittsburgh. As with all of Romero’s films, I love this one as well. Fascinating bit of trivia: Romero has reportedly cited the Society for Creative Anachronism as the inspiration regarding the occupation of the film’s protagonists. If you readers are interesting in reading a list of my favorite George A. Romero films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Knightriders

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Vamp (1986)

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I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to director Richard Wenk’s 1986 comedic horror film Vamp. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was May 26, 1991 (read here). Not unlike Night of the Comet and Trancers (two 1984 flicks that also aired on Moviedrome), Vamp is little more than an enjoyable 1980’s low-budget B-movie, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Vamp


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: The Beguiled (1971)

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Series 4 of Moviedrome opened with director Don Siegel’s 1971 Southern Gothic Civil War drama The Beguiled. I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of the aforementioned film. Readers can read his transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was May 19, 1991 (read here). The Beguiled was the third collaboration between director Don Siegel and his lead actor Clint Eastwood – the first two were 1968’s Coogan’s Bluff and 1970’s Two Mules for Sister Sara. Dirty Harry followed in December of 71 and 8 years later in 1979, their partnership concluded with Escape from Alcatraz. Unlike the roles he played in Siegel’s previous and future films, Clint Eastwood portrays his leading anti-hero as a vulnerable human being – even when he displays his macho persona, it comes off as terrifying as opposed to cool. I agree with everything Cox says about this film – especially when he implies that it is a blend of (in his words) Jacobean tragedy and Ambrose Bierce (read here). In case you readers missed it the first time, click here to read the list of my favorite Don Siegel films.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Beguiled


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Down by Law (1986)

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Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing indie director/writer Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 deadpan crime comedy Down by Law, readers will have to rely on a page in the book of an old Moviedrome guide (read here), since the link to that episode transcript is missing (read here). The episode’s original airdate was September 9, 1990 (read here). As with Jarmusch’s previous film Stranger than Paradise (released two years earlier in 1984), Down by Law is another delightfully deadpan comedy with a European flavor. Like Paradise before it, Down by Law is photographed in black-and-white – this time by the late great Robby Muller. Nevertheless, the b&w cinematography on both films lend a poetic touch to the result. Last, but not least, the always wonderful musician Tom Waits, John Lurie (from Paradise), and Italian comedian Roberto Benigni complete the film. On an unrelated note, here is an interesting piece of trivia: Down by Law was the last film shown on Series 3 of Moviedrome in 1990. Next week, I will begin with Series 4 from 1991. If you are interested in reading a list of my favorite Jim Jarmusch films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer