Moviedrome Mondays: Gothic (1986) and The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

This Moviedrome Monday entry is yet another double bill – this one features two films involving period settings.

Gothic (1986)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing flamboyant master filmmaker Ken Russell’s 1986 period horror item Gothic, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 11, 1993 (read here). Even with Cox’s positive reaction to the film, I have a feeling that I love Gothic more than he does. Though Cox does find fault with Thomas Dolby’s soundtrack, I was personally cool with it. Directed by Ken Russell, this fictionalized take on the origin of 19th-century writer Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein is typically (and I mean that as a compliment) idiosyncratic in every way possible. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Ken Russell films (read here).

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

The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

Once again I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing visionary director Vincent Ward’s idiosyncratic 1988 fantasy adventure The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 12, 1993 (read here). Having not seen this film in the longest time, I am afraid that I can’t agree or disagree with Cox’s comments on it.

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

15 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: Gothic (1986) and The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

  1. I’m afraid I disagree here, John. I didn’t like Gothic. I thought it was quite bad and forgettable and lacking a lot of Ken Russell’s creative zest. I haven’t seen The Navigator so I can’t say anything about that.

    On the plus side, I’m pleased to hear you liked The Climber. I think it’s great too. It has an Arrow Video release which I own. It’s great. It has a half hour interview with Joe which is great. Did you see the other two Joe films I recommended? If so, what did you think of those?

    Also, I found Alex’s Moviedrome intro to The Andromeda Strain which I uploaded to my youtube channel. There were already three uploads of this intro on youtube but I thought what the hey. I’ll upload this intro too.
    youtube.com/channel/UCNVj64SrK9Bj3pMeBgLOvcw

  2. I was a big fan of The Navigator, so thanks for reminding me about a film I had almost forgotten. I am also a fan of The Andromeda Strain, which I think is a wonderful sci-fi film. Nice to see that featured too. As for Gothic, I liked the soundtrack, and the film was interesting because of Ken being Ken. But I didn’t think it was a great film.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Regarding Gothic, you are correct that it does not surpass his earlier work – as much as I love Gothic, I too would not rank it in my top 5 of favorite Ken Russell films, though you probably knew that by now πŸ™‚

    I really loved The Climber and I am going to be checking out the other two films. Joe Dallesandro has electrified in everything I have seen with him and The Climber is no exception. Now that you mention the interview, I now want to go order that Arrow DVD to hear what he has to say. Dallesandro is undoubtedly one of the greats as you so eloquently imply. I have also meant to do reviews on Almost Human and The Climber – I have been delayed during this past month though. Nevertheless, I will get to them πŸ™‚ I love all of these Italian crime films that you have introduced me to that I probably would not have discovered If you have not brought them to my attention πŸ™‚ Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to you with your knowledge of these films is that If you were a film historian, you could probably write a few great books on the poliziotteschi subgenre πŸ™‚ You do to that what Christopher Frayling and Alex Cox do for the Spaghetti western πŸ™‚ Truly keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Thank you for finding a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Andromeda Strain – when I get to that episode, it will be my pleasure to upload your link to it πŸ™‚

  4. The Andromeda Strain is featured in the 1994 (next season) of Moviedrome, so I will cover it than πŸ™‚ Nevertheless, a shoutout to Steve for finding it πŸ™‚ As much as I love Gothic, you will probably notice that I do not rank it in the top 5 of my favorite Ken Russell films – I love Gothic every bit as much, but I would not rank it higher than his 1970’s or his 1960’s television work πŸ™‚ I need to check out The Navigator again – speaking of which, British film critic Mark Kermode (I was researching the film again after completing this blog entry), featured this as one of his BFI choices a few years back πŸ™‚ Here is a youtube video link below πŸ™‚

  5. It’s great that you are fan of Joe too. He is a legend. I hope you like Je T’aime Moi Non Plus as I love that film. Joe’s appearance in The Cotton Club may have been brief but he was still scene stealing and great. I don’t know if you’re a fan of Miami Vice (I am) but Joe was brilliant in the season 3 episode Down For The Count Part II where he plays a Las Vegas mobster. That’s where I first saw him and how I became a fan of his.

    Here’s a few more great Poliziotteschi films which I recommend. These are all on youtube with English options:

    Il Boss – with Henry Silva and Richard Conte (aka Barzini in The Godfather)
    Caliber 9 – with Gaston Moschi (aka Don Fanucci in The Godfather Part II)
    Squadra Volante – with Tomas Milian and Gaston Moschi
    Young, Violent, Dangerous with Tomas Milian

    This is just a few. I could tell you about even more.

    There’s a great documentary called “Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled The ’70s”. It tells you everything you need to know about the Poliziotteschi genre and it’s interviewees include Joe Dallesandro, Henry Silva and Franco ‘Django’ Nero. I highly recommend that documentary. It’s on youtube.

    There’s also Blood Ties with Brad Davis and Vincent Spano. That could be considered Poliziotteschi too although it’s from 1986. The shortened movie length version in English is on youtube. It was originally a four hour TV miniseries and that’s on youtube too but with no English options. I prefer the miniseries version as there’s a lot more in it but the shortened movie length version is great too. The score is great and Vincent Spano is great and gives perhaps his best performance. I’d really like to see this get a DVD or Blu release.

    I’ve never heard Alex Cox talk about the Poliziotteschi genre. I don’t know why. I think he’d like that genre too given his love of Italian westerns. Poliziotteschi replaced the westerns.

  6. I was also a big fan of The Navigator when it came out, because it was unusual and a pleasant surprise.We DID see it recently, like a year ago, and although it was dated and hadn’t aged well, it still wasn’t too bad; the core idea still was strong and the adventure was engaging.

  7. One of these days when I am not so busy, I will rewatch that because it has been a long (and I mean) a very long time since I last saw it. Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  8. Sorry for the late response Steve πŸ™‚ Busy lately πŸ™‚ Nevertheless, things are getting quieter so I will have more time to check out those other Joe Dallesandro Italian crime film Born Winner. In addition, I will check out Je T’aime Moi Non Plus as well πŸ™‚ Oh yeah, I have watched old Miami Vice episodes and I saw that episode with Dallesandro – he electrified as always πŸ™‚ Along with “Land of Confusion”, the show’s theme “In the Air Tonight” are the two songs I think of when the name Phil Collins pops in my head πŸ™‚

    I will check out those other Poliziotteschi films as well – they sound great and two Godfather actors are in two of them individually πŸ™‚

    I shall check out that documentary Eurocrime as well – sounds neat given the interviews with veterans of the genre (or sub-genre) πŸ™‚

    Blood Ties sounds intriguing too πŸ™‚ Looks like I got a lot of fun watching to do πŸ™‚ I truly thank you for all of these wonderful recommendations πŸ™‚ I am sure that I am going to love them πŸ™‚

    I too am curious why Cox never talks about the Poliziotteschi films because as you so eloquently imply, they would seem right up his alley and yeah I think I read somewhere once that the popularity of those films may have played a part (I can’t say for sure) in the spaghetti westerns decline in popularity.

  9. I hope you like everything I recommended.I think you definitely will.

    There are three Godfather actors in Blood Ties too. Two are instantly recognisable and unmistakable.

    The Eurocrime documentary explains the end of the westerns and how they were replaced by Poliziotteschi.

  10. I don’t recall seeing either of these films John, although I still learnt a few things from Cox’s introductions. I didn’t know Thomas Dolby had worked with Ken Russell, and I’d never heard of “coarse acting” in regard to The Navigator. It’s interesting how a new wave of video money helped fund a string of low budget films back in the 80s. Ken Russell seemed to benefit more than most. Now I just need to track down some of his films!

  11. All interesting stuff indeed Paul S πŸ™‚ As to which Ken Russell films you should check out, one of his most (but far from the only one) controversial ones is 1971’s The Devils. Here is an Amazon.co.uk link below and thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

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