Moviedrome Mondays: Vanishing Point (1971) and The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry is a double-bill consisting of a 1940’s film noir and a 1970’s neo-noir.

Vanishing Point (1971)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director Richard C. Sarafian’s 1971 cult classic Vanishing Point, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 18, 1998 (read here). Not much to add here, except that I agree with everything Cousins says here about this gem of a road movie.

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

The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

Once again, I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director Felix E. Feist’s 1947 film noir gem The Devil Thumbs a Ride, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 18, 1998 (read here). Once again, I am in complete agreement with Cousins on this one.

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Storyville (1992) and Ruthless (1948)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of a political thriller and a drama.

Storyville (1992)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost’s 1992 directorial debut Storyville, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 11, 1998 (read here). It has been a long time since I saw this film, so a rewatch is in order, but I am a huge fan of Frost, David Lynch and Twin Peaks all together.

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Ruthless (1948)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary cult director Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1948 drama Ruthless. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 11, 1998 (read here). I am in total agreement with Cousins thoughts here and yes, it really does come off feeling like Ulmer’s own Citizen Kane – albeit, with only half of the latter’s budget. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Edgar G. Ulmer films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Ruthless

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: The Fog (1980) and Darkness in Tallinn (1993) (Mark Cousins intro)

First off, Happy 2022 to all of my dear readers 🙂 Now let us continue the second half of Series 8 of Moviedrome. This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry consists of two different films.

The Fog (1980)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to master horror filmmaker John Carpenter’s 1980 supernatural gem The Fog. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 4, 1998 (read here). Unlike Cousins (who appreciates the film with reservations), I love The Fog as much as I love just about all of Carpenter’s films. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite John Carpenter films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Fog

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

Darkness in Tallinn (1993)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Finnish director Ilkka Jarvi-Laturi’s 1993 comedic thriller Darkness in Tallinn. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was January 5, 1998 (read here). I have not seen this film so I can’t comment, but it does look interesting based on Cousins description of it.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Darkness in Tallinn

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Darkness in Tallinn

I can’t really find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Logan’s Run (1976) and Fahrenheit 451 (1966) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry is a double-bill consisting of two dystopian science-fiction films.

Logan’s Run (1976)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director Michael Anderson’s 1976 sci-fi action adventure Logan’s Run. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 17, 1997 (read here). Unlike Cousins, my overall opinion of Logan’s Run is rather mixed. While it’s art direction, cinematography and visual effects deserve high praise (dated or not), the film’s thematic elements come off as more interesting on the surface than they are in the center. Nevertheless, the presence of lead actors Michael York and Jenny Agutter make it a worthwhile watch.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Logan’s Run

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

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary French New Wave filmmaker Francois Truffaut’s 1966 sci-fi drama Fahrenheit 451. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 18, 1997 (read here). Yes, the film is based on late celebrated fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel of the same name. In addition, Fahrenheit 451 serves as Truffaut’s first English Language film (a British one in this case). While Truffaut may have had a reportedly unhappy experience making Fahrenheit 451, I still personally love it. If anything else, I would label it a masterpiece of form. Standouts in this case include Nicolas Roeg’s cinematography (trivia: this was Truffaut’s first film to be shot in color) and Bernard Herrman’s music score among other pleasures. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Francois Truffaut films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to Fahrenheit 451

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

While this will not be my last blog entry for 2021, it will be my last one concerning the Moviedrome Monday entries. I shall resume the Moviedrome Monday blog entries in the new year (Sunday, January 9, 2022) beginning with the second half of season 8 of Moviedrome.

Moviedrome Mondays: Spanking the Monkey (1994) (Mark Cousins intro)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director/writer David O. Russell’s 1994 indie breakthrough Spanking the Monkey. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 10, 1997 (read here). A fresh viewing may be in order considering that it has been a long time since I saw this black comedy.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Spanking the Monkey

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

Moviedrome Mondays: The Warriors (1979) and La Haine (1995) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two crime films set either after hours or within a 24-hour period.

The Warriors (1979)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to action director Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic The Warriors. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 3, 1997 (read here). Not much to add here except that I totally agree with everything Cousins says about this gem. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Walter Hill films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Warriors

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

La Haine (1995)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to French director Mathieu Kassovitz 1995 crime drama La Haine. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 3, 1997 (read here). Though Cousins may be a slightly (and I put emphasis on that word) bigger fan of this film than myself, I must say nonetheless that La Haine is a truly very good film that is just a tiny hair short of greatness.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to La Haine

Here is a youtube video link to a 2020 re-issue UK trailer (I could not find the film’s original theatrical trailer)

Moviedrome Mondays: The Girl Can’t Help It (1956) and Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two comedies.

The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to cult cartoonist-turned-director Frank Tashlin’s 1956 satirical rock-and-roll musical The Girl Can’t Help It. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 27, 1997 (read here). Whereas Cousins appreciates the film with reservations, I absolutely love The Girl Can’t Help It. Given his earlier background as an animation director on various 1930’s and 40’s Looney Tunes shorts at Warner Bros., it is unsurprising that The Girl Can”t Help It plays like a cartoon itself, albeit one presented in CinemaScope. The garish colors (provided by DeLuxe) emphasizes the film’s cartoonish (among many examples, think Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood) style of humor (vulgar or otherwise). In fact, the names of Tom Ewell and Jayne Mansfield’s respective characters are Tom Miller and Jerri Jordan (a la Tom and Jerry). Despite all of the numerous jokes here revolving around her body, it is Jayne Mansfield’s Jerri Jordan, who comes off (hilariously and ironically enough) as the lone rational character of the film. This is best summed up in her desire for a normal life – I just want to be a wife. Have kids. But everyone figures me for a sexpot! No one thinks I’m equipped for motherhood! Last, but not least, it features cameos from some of rock music’s biggest names of the day – Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent are just three of many. Read more about the film’s influence on rock music here. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Frank Tashlin films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Girl Can’t Help It

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

Here is a youtube video link to cult director John Waters appreciation of the film

Also, here is a youtube video link to late director/producer Dan Ireland’s Trailers from Hell commentary for it

Also, here is a youtube video link to one of the film’s funniest visual comedic gags

Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s 1994 film Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 28, 1997 (read here). Since I have not seen the film, I can’t really comment here, though it does look fascinating.

Since I could not find a youtube video link to a trailer, one will have to do a search on the aforementioned site for various clips from it.

Moviedrome Mondays: Dazed and Confused (1993) and The Sexual Life of the Belgians (1994) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry is a double bill consisting of two coming-of-age films set during two different decades.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director/writer Richard Linklater’s 1993 cult comedy Dazed and Confused. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 20, 1997 (read here). Though Linklater has surpassed himself many times since, I do still love Dazed and Confused and it’s status (implied or otherwise) as one of the many greatest teen movies of all-time is still richly deserved. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Richard Linklater films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Dazed and Confused

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Dazed and Confused

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

The Sexual Life of the Belgians (1994)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to noted Belgian anarchist Jan Bucquoy’s 1994 film The Sexual Life of the Belgians. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 20, 1997 (read here). Sad to say, I never seen this film, but it does look interesting based on Cousins assessment of the film.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Sexual Life of the Belgians

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer though

Moviedrome Mondays: Blue Collar (1978) and American Gigolo (1980) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two films directed and written by Paul Schrader.

Blue Collar (1978)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Paul Schrader’s 1978 directorial debut Blue Collar (he also co-wrote it with his brother Leonard), readers will have to rely on his intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 13, 1997 (read here). Since I can’t comment on his most recent film The Card Counter (have not seen it yet), I will say that after 2017’s First Reformed (for me his masterpiece), Blue Collar ranks as my second favorite film by Schrader as a director.

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

American Gigolo (1980)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Schrader’s 1980 neo-noir sexual drama American Gigolo. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 14, 1997 (read here). I am sorry, but I have to totally disagree with Cousins on this one. For myself, American Gigolo is a film that alternated between bad and mediocre. Visually, it perfectly captures the excess that defined the 1980’s on a whole – courtesy of it’s art deco and John Bailey’s cinematography. Giorgio Moroder’s music score – (including his involvement with Blondie’s Debbie Harry on the hit song Call Me) serves as a fitting contribution. Last, but not least, we get outstanding performances from it’s two leads, which in this case would be Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton. So now you might be wondering what my problem with American Gigolo is? Schrader’s reported intention of playing American Gigolo as a Bressonian character study feels out of place here for what becomes a routine commercial mystery. Given that the film’s visual style was influenced by Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (a reported favorite of Schrader’s), maybe it would have been more fitting for the previously mentioned director/writer to play it as a Bertoluccian one – regardless of whether it’s more commercial aspects benefit or hinder it (the latter in this case), but that is just me. Equally problematic (as others have noted – here is Moviedromer’s thoughts below Cousins intro transcript) is the homophobia and sexism on display here – whenever these sentiments are not expressed by Gere’s lead character, they take the form of Schrader’s depiction of some of the characters as played by Bill Duke, Tom Stewart and (combing the former with the latter) Nina van Pallandt. My qualms here lie less with those aforementioned accusations against it and more with how those criticisms end up considerably damaging the result – once one combines the first half’s (supposed) Bressonian elements with the debatably more conventional ones of the second, American Gigolo can’t help but come off as sophomoric for a drama and uncharacteristic for a commercial film of this type.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to American Gigolo

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

Moviedrome Mondays: Exotica (1994) (Mark Cousins Intro)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Toronto New Wave veteran director Atom Egotan’s 1994 thought-provoking drama Exotica. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 29, 1997 (read here). Cousins admits to not liking this film, so on that, I disagree with him completely. Not unlike Calendar and The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan’s two other great films), Exotica (as others have implied) takes it’s frequent backdrop (a strip club in this case) and uses it to explore it’s themes (central among them here are lust and grief) in a way that is both emotional and intellectual. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Atom Egoyan films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Exotica

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