Moviedrome Mondays: One from the Heart (1982)

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Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to director Francis Ford Coppola’s experimental 1982 romantic musical drama One from the Heart, I will have to make do with a transcript of it (read here). The episode’s original airdate was August 14, 1988 (read here). While Cox does not hate One from the Heart, he does feel that it’s straightforward love story meshes uneasily with it’s (actually) $26 million budget (he said $25 million), which was spent on lavish sets and dance numbers. At first, I thought he was out of his mind when he dismissed Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle’s songs as awful, but thankfully, he elaborates on this by implying that it is not so much the songs as it is with it’s relationship to certain scenes in the film. Personally, I adore One from the Heart for all the elements Cox sees as drawbacks. Along with Peter Bogdanovich’s At Long Last Love and Martin Scorsese’s New York New York, Coppola’s One from the Heart is a daring entry within the musical genre that (sadly) could have only been made during a period that appreciated such genius whether it be a success or folly – apparently all three of them ended up in the latter category. The period I am talking about here is obviously the New Hollywood era (1965-1983). Hit or miss (and I count myself in the former group), One from the Heart makes Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (with all due respect to him, the film and it’s supporters) look like the bland overrated tripe that it is. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Francis Ford Coppola films, read here.

I do not know what is considered to be the actual original theatrical trailer for it, but here is a youtube link to one of the American ones below


Though it says 2003 on the description, I think the youtube link to this one below may have came much earlier than that


And finally, here is a youtube link to screenwriter Larry Karaszewski’s Trailers from Hell (also read here) commentary for another one below

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A Week Off

There will be no Moviedrome Monday entries tomorrow because I am taking a little vacation from this blog this week. Nevertheless, readers can expect to see a new Moviedrome Monday entry by late Sunday of next week – July 14th 🙂

Moviedrome Mondays: The Fly (1958)

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Unfortunately, there is no youtube link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro for Kurt Neumann’s 1958 science-fiction horror film The Fly. Instead you will have to rely on this link to the transcript of Cox’s intro (read here). The episode’s original airdate was August 7, 1988 (read here). Personally, I am a bigger fan of director David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake, which was the work of a filmmaker discovering a personal connection to the material. In contrast, Neumann’s film plays out more like a routine monster movie by comparison. Nevertheless, Vincent Price is entertaining as always and the climax is impressive in it’s own way.

Here is a youtube link to the trailer below

Moviedrome Mondays: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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As with the past two Moviedrome Monday entries, this one also includes a youtube link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction of this film, which is director Don Siegel’s much beloved 1956 science-fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The episode’s original airdate was July 31, 1988 (read here). There is really not much I need to add here other than pointing out that Cox’s sentiments of the film are spot on (read here). Interestingly enough, Cox introduced the 1978 remake on the same show 5 seasons later in 1993 and loved it just as much as the 56 version. As Cox implies here, the film (depending on one’s political leanings) can be viewed as either an attack on anti-communism or on communism itself during the McCarthy era 1950’s. In case anyone is interested, here is a link to my list of my favorite films of director Don Siegel.

Here is a youtube link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to the 56 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers


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

Moviedrome Mondays: The Long Hair of Death (1964)

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As with last week’s Moviedrome Monday entry (The Parallax View in this case), this one also includes a youtube link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to this film, which is The Long Hair of Death – a 1964 black-and-white Italian horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti (sometimes known as Anthony M. Dawson or Anthony Daisies). The episode’s original airdate was July 24, 1988 (read here). Here, Cox talks about it’s similarities to The Wicker Man (another Moviedrome entry that I covered – read here) and delves a little bit into the background of it’s lead British actress Barbara Steele (read here and here). Cox is correct that horror films made up a good portion of his work (his then previous one being Castle of Blood – co-directed with Sergio Corbucci from that same year), but Margheriti has also tackled other genres including action, Eurospy, giallo, science fiction, spaghetti westerns (though he briefly talks about one of them in his introduction), sword and sandal films and war movies serve as many examples according to wikipedia’s entry on him (read here). Both Margheriti and The Long Hair of Death has often been implicitly dismissed as a pale imitation of Italian horror maestro Mario Bava and his works (read here). Having only seen a few of his films, I can not really comment on that. Nevertheless, I have no problem in praising The Long Hair of Death as a visually atmospheric horror film and I think many people can agree with that sentiment – at least those who have seen this film.

Here is a youtube link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Long Hair of Death

 

Here is a youtube link to The Long Hair of Death’s U.S. trailer (I could not find the Italian one)

Moviedrome Mondays: The Parallax View (1974)

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For the first time since the Barbarella post three weeks back (read it here), this Moviedrome Mondays entry features a video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing Alan J. Pakula’s 1974 politically charged thriller The Parallax View from season 1 of the program (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 17, 1988 (read here). Cox does not talk much here regarding his thoughts on the film (though he reportedly loves it). Instead, he uses the film and connects it to how the American political climate of the 1960’s changed the country forever. The main cases here are the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 (read here), presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 (read here) and Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (read here) from that same year. Like Cox, I used some of these same historical events in my reviews of both George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Robert Altman’s Nashville and connected them to the social commentary that both films displayed in different ways. The former came out in 68 and the latter in 1975. Everything Cox says here is just mesmerizing. Not only that, but I have also uploaded a video link of Cox expanding upon his thoughts in a another televised showing of The Parallax View as part of BBC Two’s Kennedy Night on November 21, 1993. I have uploaded quite a few video links to it since some of the videos feel incomplete.

First, here is the youtube video link of Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Parallax View


Here is one youtube video link part of Cox’s intro to the same film from 1993 on BBC Two’s Kennedy Night


Here is another youtube video link part to that same program


And here is another youtube video link that runs 21 minutes or so


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

Moviedrome Mondays: Johnny Guitar (1954)

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Although their is a video link to later Moviedrome host Mark Cousins (1997-2000) introducing this film, I could not (once again) find a video link of earlier Moviedrome host Alex Cox (1988-1994) introducing Nicolas Ray’s  1954 cult cross-gender western Johnny Guitar. Nevertheless, as usual, you can read the transcript for his intro here. The episode’s original airdate was July 10, 1988 (read here). I am sorry but Cox is totally wrong on this one. First off, the film’s cult reputation lies in Ray’s and screenwriter Philip Yordan’s (adapted from Roy Chanslor’s 1953 novel of the same name) audacious blend of camp and social commentary that has earned it a cult reputation over the years (read here). Johnny Guitar is not so much a revisionist western as it is an intentionally vicious parody of one. For example, despite rescuing anti-heroine Vienna (Joan Crawford) twice, actor Sterling Hayden’s title character comes off as uncharismatic throughout. In fact, he and the rest of the male cast are upstaged by the two lead actresses of the film – Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, who plays the villainous Emma Small. Taking all of this into consideration, one is tempted to call Johnny Guitar (in some respects) a feminist western. But then again, that is still heavily debatable. Some people I know who adore Johnny Guitar have even implied that it can be praised as a western with lesbian overtones. Again, still heavily debatable. At the same time though, others (critics and viewers alike) have viewed it as a social commentary on McCarthyism (read here). Debatable or not though, Johnny Guitar does work on all of these levels. What Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly from one year later (read my review here) did for 1950’s film noir, Johnny Guitar does for 1950’s westerns. In this case, Johnny Guitar can best be viewed as a 1950’s western with openly anti-fifties tendencies. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Nicholas Ray films, read here.

Here is a youtube link to Johnny Guitar’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: The Hired Hand (1971)

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Since I can’t find a video of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing actor Peter Fonda’s 1971 directorial debut The Hired Hand, I have once again relied on a link to Cox’s intro transcript of it via moviedrome.tumblr.com (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 3, 1988 (read here). Along with director Monte Hellman’s 1966 film The Shooting, The Hired Hand can best be described as an Acid Western (read here). Read the link, but the one thing I can tell you that everybody else familiar with the term has noted is that Acid Westerns are characterized by their dreamlike pacing. Sadly, Cox does not think that The Hired Hand is a classic. The film garnered mixed reviews at the time so it is probably not much of a surprise. Nevertheless, by 2001, it’s critical standing had improved with some critics giving off the vibe that it is a misunderstood masterpiece of the Western genre (read here). Here is Cox, in his own words, about his problems with the film – the camerawork is all bleary and there are long transitions and the people don’t say much. It’s not as good as The Last Movie, it doesn’t have Hopper’s madness or breadth of vision. Once again, read here. Okay, first of all, maybe The Hired Hand was not intended to have The Last Movie’s (directed by Dennis Hopper) madness or breadth of vision. Coincidentally, both films came out in 1971.  For the record, I personally believe that The Last Movie is a bigger achievement by comparison, but The Hired Hand is still brilliant in it’s own ways. I appreciate the film’s bleary cinematography (courtesy of the late great Vilmos Zsigmond); it is not only beautiful, but it is appropriate for the film’s dreamy quality. Same thing goes regarding the film’s long transitions and the limited qualities of it’s characters. To be fair though, Cox did single out actor Warren Oates for praise. According to Cox, If one asked actors Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton and Ed Harris to name the best American actor living or dead it is quite likely that they are not going to say Marlon Brando. They’ll tell you it’s Warren Oates. Read here once again. I too am a huge fan of Oates as an actor. Here are two links below – one for the film’s original theatrical trailer in 1971 and the other for the 2001 Restored Director’s Cut.

Here is the youtube link below for the film’s 1971 original theatrical trailer

 

Here is the youtube link below for the film’s 2001 Restored Director’s Cut trailer

 

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Barbarella (1968)

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Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox personally feels that erotic French filmmaker Roger Vadim is not really a good director (read here) in his introduction to the 1968 science-fiction cult classic Barbarella. As one might have guessed, the film is based on Jean-Claude Forest’s comic book series of the same name (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 26th, 1988 (read here). Anyone interested in reading the episode transcript, you can read it here. Despite having seen only three of Vadim’s films (this one, And God Created Woman and Pretty Maids All in a Row), I personally feel that Cox could potentially be wrong here because I love all three of the aforementioned titles. Nevertheless, Cox is correct when he calls Barbarella entertaining. I also agree with him that the production design and costumes serve as the standout aspects of the film (read here). I also enjoyed lead actress Jane Fonda’s portrayal of the title character. Interesting bit of trivia for my readers, Fonda was also married to director Vadim during this period (read here). For those interested in my favorite films of director Roger Vadim, read here. Also, you readers might be pleased to know, that I found a youtube link of Cox introducing this film on Moviedrome.

Here is the youtube link of Alex Cox’s introducing this film on Moviedrome


Also, here is a youtube link to the US trailer

 

Moviedrome Mondays: The Last Picture Show (1971)

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Once again, I could not find a video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 classic drama The Last Picture Show, so my readers will have to make due with a link to his transcript (read here). The original airdate of this episode was June 19th, 1988. I wholeheartedly agree with Cox’s intro here especially on what he said about it’s use of black-and-white (which Picture Show was shot in) and how it is still very rarely used. I also agree with Cox’s words of it being about the decline of a small Texas cow town, or, if you like, the decline of the American dream (whatever that is), symbolised by the closing of the last cinema in town. I could not have said it better myself. The acting – especially by Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman – is superb as is Bogdanovich’s direction, he and Larry McMurtry’s screenplay (adapted from the 1966 novel of the same name by the latter) and last, but not least, Robert Surtess black-and-white cinematography that gives it’s 1950’s setting a proper nostalgic tone. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Peter Bogdanovich films, read here. Also, here is a youtube link to the film’s original trailer below: