Sunday

100 Rifles (1969)

Jim Brown, Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch star in this old-fashioned studio Western about the internal struggles in Mexico circa 1900. Reynolds plays a "half-breed" named Yaqui Joe, a Yaqui Indian from his mother's side, but fathered by a white man from Alabama. (Although for some reason his last name is listed as Herrera in the credits!!??) His tribe is at war with a renegade Mexican general (Fernando Lamas) whose plan is to kill any Yaquis that won't accept the yoke of oppression. In order to even the odds in the Yaqui/Mexican war, Reynolds robs a bank in Arizona and uses the money to buy rifles for the Indians. He thus creates two major enemies simultaneously - the Mexican general, and an American lawman (Jim Brown) who follows him back to Mexico, intent on returning him to Arizona dead or alive.

The idealistic lawman tries to stay focused on his job, but he can't help but get involved with the cause of the poor, rural Indians. Some of his change of heart is the result of compassion for the underdog Indians, but the lawman is pushed all the way into the struggle because the arrogant Mexican general simply refuses to co-operate with him and even orders him shot by a firing squad. The lawman therefore has no choice but to help Yaqui Joe before he can get him back to the States to face justice. The decision is made less painful for Big Jim by the fact that he falls in love with the female spitfire (Raquel Welch) who leads the Yaqui rebellion.

It's a solid premise, and the film was made with a substantial budget, backed by a score from Jerry Goldsmith. I really wanted to like this movie. It just wasn't in the cards. It ended up being a mediocre and formulaic film filled with missed opportunities:

1) The bickering love/hate relationship between Jim Brown and Burt Reynolds might have turned into a classic "screen buddy" pairing, but the character development and dialogue were kept in the background in order to feature riding and gunfights.

2) The action scenes just didn't turn out to be worth the sacrifice of plot and characterization. The action consists of a lot of guys clutching their chests and saying "ya got me, pard" in Spanish, and physics-defying scenes of rows of men all falling forward dramatically after having been shot in the chest. Not only did they all fall in the wrong direction, but they fell in a nice, neat choreographed line, as if they were falling into an art deco pool during a Busby Berkeley number.

3) The narrative is jumbled, so that the characters are where they need to be for the story to continue, as opposed to where they really could be or should be in the real world. The evil general's men are ambushed not once but twice, and in each case he is not with them, although we expect him to be. At one point, Burt and Jim and fifty Indians and the titular 100 rifles choose to flee when pursued by a mere dozen men on horseback - even though the evil general is with the riders, the Indians are on their own terrain, have the advantage of surprise, and would be defending their own own village. Instead of choosing to battle the general on those terms, they postpone the confrontation so they can take on the general in a fortified town where he has a full battalion armed with Gatling guns and cannons. Yeah, there's a plan.

The studios were still cranking out lots of Westerns in 1969, and 100 Rifles was overshadowed by several better ones with bigger stars, including two with John Wayne and two with Redford. Reynolds had not even become Dan August yet by 1969, and would not become a major movie star until Deliverance in 1972. (The Longest Yard followed in 1974; Smokey and the Bandit and Semi-Tough in 1977.)

 

 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid managed to develop the buddy rapport much better than 100 Rifles. The Wild Bunch did much better with the violent action sequences. True Grit had The Duke, who won an Oscar as Rooster Cogburn. In comparison to those three landmark films, 100 Rifles and Sam Whiskey (another Reynolds oater from 1969) seemed to fall somewhere between drive-in movies and a bunch of kids playing cowboy.

 

Soledad Miranda

The pretty Spanish actress was mostly seen in late-60s Eurocrap. She was a favorite of the legendary bad director Jesus Franco, which would have guaranteed her a permanent career as a lesbian vampire, except that she was tragically killed in a car crash in Portugal in the summer of 1970, shortly after her 27th birthday!

Raquel Welch  (here is the film clip - zipped .wmv).

There is no nudity from Raquel, but it's about the closest she ever came to getting naked in her physical prime.

 

 

 

 

Three (2004? 2005? 2006? Take your pick.)

Released to video as "Survival Island"

I'd like to know how many times commercial filmmakers are going to remake The Admirable Crichton. I, for one, have been sick of these desert island class-reversal films since before many of you were born.

You never heard of The Admirable Crichton? I suppose I never would have either, had I not I majored in English Lit, with a specialty in Modern British and Irish Drama. (Very useful for making a living, right? Of course, that was the late sixties, when making a living was considered a sell-out.) At any rate, it is a play written by the same odd little man who wrote Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, and the two plays were written at about the same time, just after the turn of the century. You can read the play online if you really care to, for it is in the public domain.

The plot was essentially this:

Rich couple gets shipwrecked with their butler. In the new social dynamic created on the island, the butler becomes the leader, because he is the only one with the grit and intelligence for survival. The aristocrats take orders from him. When everyone is saved, the Lords and Ladies return to their high station, and Crichton goes back to being a butler.

If your girlfriend wants to drag you to this play, don't count on any hot butler-on-girl action. This was not a predecessor of Red Shoe Diaries, although the condescending Lady did eventually find herself falling in love with her dynamic, ingenious butler - but only until they were rescued. J.M. Barrie was not much interested in sex, if at all. Although he married, some of his biographers have suggested that his marriage was never consummated and that he died a virgin. The relationship between Barrie's life and his most famous concept, a juvenile frozen in boyhood, would certainly have been an interesting topic for the analytical skills of his contemporary, Dr. Freud, because Barrie himself never grew up in many ways. He stopped growing in boyhood (he was about five feet tall), and apparently never developed any adult sexual capability. "Boys cannot love" is how he was said to have explained his impotence to his wife Mary, shortly before she divorced his tiny ass. In other words, he wasn't anything like Johnny Depp.

The Admirable Crichton itself has been made into several eponymous motion pictures, the first one coming out of the silent film era, and the most memorable starring Kenneth More as Crichton. As the twentieth century progressed and the leisure classes developed an ever increasing interest in sex, various filmmakers with a healthier libido than Mr. Barrie started to realize that the entire dynamic of The Admirable Crichton really ought to have a sexual component. After all, as the "dominant male" on the island, wouldn't Crichton also get the hottest babe(s)?

Enter Lina Wertmuller and her "Swept Away ..." in 1974, in which the guy from the lower classes asserts his complete domination over the Lady when they get shipwrecked. He knows she can't survive unless he provides for her, and she knows it too, so he uses this advantage for his amusement, beating her, abusing her, raping her, turning her into his menial slave, and so forth.

Swept Away was remade by Guy Ritchie into a notorious stinker in 2002. Ritchie chose unwisely to feature a certain non-actress named  Madonna as the rich bitch. I doubt if he had many options, since he was married to her.

The latest twist on the story is called Three. A rich couple (Billy Zane and Kelly Brook) take a private yacht into the South Seas. It sinks. What is the deal with Billy Zane and boats? This is the fourth film in which he has been on a sinking ship! (Dead Calm, Titanic, Cleopatra). At any rate, Zane is nowhere to be seen when Kelly washes ashore on L'isle D'Gilligan with Manuel, the hired hand. The usual Admirable Crichton dynamic takes over. Manuel is the one with survival skills, and he's a horny guy, so she becomes dependent on the handsome hunk, and they become romantically involved. This actually seems to be working out quite well until the scriptwriter remembers that the Gilligan's Island theme song mentions "the millionaire and his wife." Enter the millionaire, who washes up on the same island. Oh, you know it's gonna get nasty in a "two men enter, one man leaves" kind of way, except this island thunderdome involves Zany Bill instead of Mad Max.

Zane goes mad watching his wife shagging enthusiastically with the other guy, so he hatches a very convoluted revenge plot. First he finds the hull of a boat, and seems to be planning to leave alone, so the other two steal the boat and leave Zane behind. As it turns out, that was exactly what he wanted. He is the only one of the three who knew that the boat was not seaworthy, and it sinks! The plot twists continue in the same vein when Brook and the other guy swim back. Oh, yeah, and there's a voodoo curse involved as well. One of the three will die. One will eventually leave the island alone. The third will end up marooned alone.

The film's distribution has been problematic, and rumors have circulated that Zane did everything he could to block its uncut release after he and Brook became a real-life couple. It seem that there was some dispute about nude scenes in which Ms Brook shows off a nicely rounded bum and a very generous chest! Perhaps Zane's greatest problem was many of the sex scenes involve Brook loving long time with a hunky guy from Argentina named Juan Di Pace. Whatever Zane's arguments may have been, they seem to have had no legal merit, and the film is available now in Greece, and will soon be released in Region 1.

Kelly Brook (captures by Mr. Skin). The astounding and naked Ms. Brook was recently chosen by FHM magazine as the sexiest woman on this or any other planet.

Here is a zip file containing six .wmv clips assembled by Seor Piel

 

Inner Sanctum (1991)

I don't know if Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski have the worst directing records in history, but they run about neck-and-neck when it comes to the prolific output of grade-Z films.

 

Fred Olen Ray

Jim Wynorski

  1. (4.33) - Fugitive Mind (1999) (V)
  2. (4.28) - Friend of the Family II (1996)
  3. (4.27) - The Prophet (1999/I)
  4. (4.19) - Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)
  5. (4.16) - The Shooter (1997)
  6. (4.13) - The Phantom Empire (1986)
  7. (4.09) - Invisible Mom II (1999) (V)
  8. (3.92) - Armed Response (1986)
  9. (3.92) - The Kid with X-ray Eyes (1999)
  10. (3.90) - Kept (2001)
  11. (3.85) - Sideshow (2000)
  12. (3.84) - Deep Space (1987)
  13. (3.84) - Scandal: On the Other Side (1999)
  14. (3.79) - Mob Boss (1990) (V)
  15. (3.71) - Critical Mass (2000)
  16. (3.69) - Bikini Hoe-Down (1997) (V)
  17. (3.67) - Bad Girls from Mars (1991)
  18. (3.67) - Haunting Fear (1991)
  19. (3.66) - Mom, Can I Keep Her? (1998)
  20. (3.66) - Venomous (2002)
  21. (3.64) - Possessed by the Night (1994)
  22. (3.64) - Beverly Hills Vamp (1988)
  23. (3.60) - Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991) (V)
  24. (3.55) - Little Miss Magic (1997)
  25. (3.50) - Dinosaur Island (1994)
  26. (3.50) - Mach 2 (2001)
  27. (3.50) - Evil Toons (1992)
  28. (3.50) - Active Stealth (1999)

----------------------------------------- Mid-point

  1. (3.45) - Prison Ship (1988)
  2. (3.42) - Counter Measures (1999)
  3. (3.39) - Invisible Dad (1997) (V)
  4. (3.37) - Droid Gunner (1995)
  5. (3.36) - Inner Sanctum (1991)
  6. (3.35) - Biohazard (1985)
  7. (3.34) - Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds (1995)
  8. (3.33) - Hybrid (1997)
  9. (3.33) - Inferno (1998)
  10. (3.32) - Invisible Mom (1997) (V)
  11. (3.31) - Scalps (1983)
  12. (3.31) - The Tomb (1986)
  13. (3.28) - Cyclone (1987)
  14. (3.27) - Submerged (2000)
  15. (3.26) - Final Examination (2003) (V)
  16. (3.15) - Stranded (2001)
  17. (3.06) - Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991)
  18. (3.04) - Air Rage (2001) (V)
  19. (2.99) - Fugitive Rage (1996) (V)
  20. (2.94) - Masseuse (1996)
  21. (2.93) - Tomb of the Werewolf (2004) (V)
  22. (2.92) - Haunting Desires (2004) (TV)
  23. (2.89) - Alienator (1989)
  24. (2.87) - Honey Britches (1971)
  25. (2.83) - Glass Trap (2005)
  26. (2.82) - Alien Dead (1980)
  27. (2.79) - Star Hunter (1995) (V)
  28. (2.43) - Bikini Drive-In (1995)
  1. (4.36) - Deathstalker II (1987) (V)
  2. (4.28) - Not of This Earth (1988)
  3. (4.28) - Busty Cops (2003) (V)
  4. (4.25) - Chopping Mall (1986)
  5. (4.20) - The Lost Empire (1985)
  6. (4.14) - Little Miss Millions (1993)
  7. (4.14) - Transylvania Twist (1990)
  8. (4.09) - More Mercy (2003) (V)
  9. (4.05) - Gale Force (2002) (V)
  10. (4.01) - Against the Law (1997)
  11. (4.00) - Desert Thunder (1998)
  12. (3.95) - Thy Neighbor's Wife (2001)
  13. (3.92) - Big Bad Mama II (1987)
  14. (3.89) - Gargoyle (2004) (V)
  15. (3.88) - Lost Treasure (2003)
  16. (3.77) - Sorority House Massacre II (1990)
  17. (3.75) - Militia (2000)
  18. (3.73) - Sins of Desire (1993)
  19. (3.67) - The Haunting of Morella (1990)
  20. (3.66) - Victim of Desire (1995)
  21. (3.66) - Hard Bounty (1995)
  22. (3.64) - Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991) (V)
  23. (3.60) - The Bare Wench Project (2000)
  24. (3.60) - The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
  25. (3.59) - Hard to Die (1990)
  26. (3.59) - Body Chemistry 4: Full Exposure (1995) (V)

----------------------------------------- Mid-point

  1. (3.59) - Sorceress (1995)
  2. (3.59) - Demolition High (1996)
  3. (3.53) - The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001) (V)
  4. (3.52) - Ablaze (2001)
  5. (3.51) - Dinosaur Island (1994)
  6. (3.48) - The Assault (1996)
  7. (3.46) - Point of Seduction: Body Chemistry III (1994) (V)
  8. (3.45) - Munchie (1992)
  9. (3.43) - Final Voyage (1999)
  10. (3.42) - Stealth Fighter (1999)
  11. (3.41) - A.I. Assault (2005) (TV)
  12. (3.27) - Project Viper (2002)
  13. (3.23) - Virtual Desire (1995)
  14. (3.20) - The Pandora Project (1998)
  15. (3.16) - The Wasp Woman (1995) (TV)
  16. (3.16) - Crash Point Zero (2000)
  17. (3.12) - 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1991)
  18. (3.11) - The Curse of the Komodo (2004)
  19. (3.08) - Munchie Strikes Back (1994)
  20. (3.08) - Vampirella (1996) (V)
  21. (3.08) - Rangers (2000) (V)
  22. (2.99) - Agent Red (2000)
  23. (2.93) - Cheerleader Massacre (2003) (V)
  24. (2.79) - Storm Trooper (1998)
  25. (2.43) - The Thing Below (2004) (V)
  26. (2.32) - Raptor (2001) (V)
  27. (2.07) - Ghoulies IV (1994)

 

Of the 50-something films they have each directed, I have enjoyed exactly one from each of them: Wynorski's Deathstalker II and Ray's Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.

The list of films below their mid-points is like an inventory of the flotsam and jetsam of a horrible cinema shipwreck.

Note that Inner Sanctum is below the average for Ray's films. A bad sign, that. The film certainly has its share of problems. The scripting and editing are confusing enough that I wasn't completely clear who had been plotting what, even after the film ended. The acting ranges from barely OK (Valerie Wildman) to very weak (Tanya Roberts and Joseph Bottoms) to laugh-out-loud bad (Margaux Hemingway). Poor Margaux was in the process of making her post-rehab comeback, and I suppose nobody was offering her a job except Fred Olen Ray. It's not difficult to see why work was hard to come by. She was out of shape. She looked older than her 35 years. Her face was no longer sufficiently attractive to make her right for the part as the "other woman." She still had that cartoon voice as well, but her acting would have been hilarious even if she had been able to switch voices with Lauren Bacall. To make matters even worse, she used a body double for some of her nude close-ups, and her saggy A-cups suddenly and obviously transformed into full, firm breasts! Meanwhile, Tanya Roberts couldn't have sunk to Margaux's acting level even if she had tried, but she opted for one of those corny 30s-style "ditzy dame" New Yawk accents, complete with gum-snapping, as if she were trying to impersonate Judy Holliday. I have to give Tanya some credit for effort, however, because she at least tried to infuse some personality into her character, while the rest of the actors remained bland and indistinguishable.

Having said all of those mean things, I would add that I am pleased with the acquisition of this DVD for a few reasons:

(1) Tanya Roberts looked very good in this film, and did some career-best nudity.

(2) Margaux Hemingway did some rare post-rehab nudity. Some of her close-ups were performed by body double Michelle Bauer, but some of the scenes were done by Margaux as well.

(3) The DVD is adequate by the standards of grade-B films. The colors are reasonably vivid, the focus is not excessively mushy, and there is no motion blur, so Tanya's nudity is fairly clear and crisp.

 

Tanya Roberts

 

Margaux Hemingway

Valerie Wildman

Unfortunately, the DVD is not available in Region 1. If you are interested in a Region 2 PAL disc, there is a Scandinavian one available in America through an importer. Click on the image below for details. (Note: Michael Nouri and Sandahl Bergman are not in this film. The people who created the DVD box got this film confused with Inner Sanctum 2. Of course, that doesn't explain why they misspelled "Hemingway.")

Inner Sanctum DVD Margeaux Hemmingway Tanya Roberts (1991)

 

Other Crap:

714 - with an asterisk

The 50 Worst Beers In The World

Kirstie Alley will wear a bikini on Oprah's show in November

Worst idea for an opera this week: Nixon in China.

  • Why not? From Faust to Othello to Don Giovanni, opera has always featured evil, satanic figures ...
  • ... just not so many in the same opera. (Nixon, Kissinger, Mao)
  • Quote of the day: "The English National Opera will mount Nixon in June and July."

Cannes Report: "In his provocative new film 'Shortbus,' U.S. director John Cameron Mitchell is seeking to demystify sex on screen by making it real."

An incredible sequence of pictures - a tugboat is pulled under a bridge which does not open as expected.

Now THIS is a Father's Day present: The Original Gag Gift Hot Dog Roaster!!!

Freddie dreams with the fishes.

How to ruin your tough-guy rocker image: get your ass kicked by a 55-year-old designer.

Dodgers: 16 runs on 25 hits - in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium

Critics judged irrelevant by audiences. DaVinci code opens huge. ($30 million on Friday)

Family Guy - Peter and Stewie bond

"Dreamgirls" casts a spell over the Cannes audience

The logical extension of the DaVinci Code theory: Married with Jesus

The hybrid electric burning cross - for the racist who loves the environment or hates the high price of gas.

Yoko Ono to blame for McCartney split

  • "The latest polls reveal that Ono is also receiving a hefty share of the blame for the trouble in Iraq, the immigration problem and rising gas prices. The growing anti-Ono ire is good news for the Bush administration, which announced it has evidence linking the notorious band-wrecker to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "

The real reason for the McCartney split

  • There's no humor or sensationalism here. Most of the other stories have been completely superficial, but this is an analytical article for those who actually care about the matter.

Architecture Portal News: Constructing The Highest Viaduct Ever (It carries traffic about 800 feet in the air over a valley. That's about the height of the observation deck of the Empire State building.)

Paranoia Department: The Republican plan for complete control in 2008 includes losing the mid-terms in 2006 (.pdf format)

Three clips from the remake of The Omen

Top 100 Beers

"The Senate voted unanimously late Thursday night, without fanfare, to raise the fines the FCC can levy against broadcasters by a factor of 10."

Berkeley's notorious 'Naked Guy' dies, fully clothed

 

 

Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.

 

Angel Blade (2002)

David Heavener wrote, directed and starred in this neo-noir erotic thriller about the non-gambling, non-glitz side of Vegas. (In fact, there isn't a single slot machine or casino in the film.)

A serial killer is dispatching barely pregnant hookers in Las Vegas with a knife. Based on brief flashes, we know that they were chained to a wall and tortured. They all had the same panties with prints of angels on them.

Heavener's character is a police detective, or at least he used to be one before his life went wrong. First, his pregnant wife died falling off a building, after he had been paged to come to work. He was later suspended from the force for three months after stepping on the toes of a police commissioner. Six months have passed since that time, and still he has no intention of coming back, but his boss wants him on this case, and the pregnancy angle intrigues him. As the detective starts to follow the clues, he finds that a lingerie model (Amanda Righetti) is the sole supplier of the angel-print panties. He ends up in a romantic relationship with her. Twists ensue. I don't want to give any more clues, since they might spoil the ending, which is completely unique.

Co-star Amanda Righetti (who is now a regular on "The O.C.") had no previous acting experience before this film. Heavener read dozens of actresses for the role and didn't like any of them. He then decided to see models, who would be comfortable with their body and able to handle the nudity. He was very pleased with Righetti, and felt that she had natural acting ability. The rest of the cast included Marc Singer, Richard Moll, Louis Mandylor, and Margot Kidder in a cameo.

I am still not sure how I feel about Angel Blade. I felt unfairly manipulated by the director more than once, such as in a scene where Heavener wakes up from a bad dream, and then wakes up again, as he had been dreaming that he was having a bad dream. Since the "making of" featurette says that Angel Blade  is "not your grandma's erotic thriller," I will grade it within that genre and give minus points for the sex and nudity, but plus points for a unique plot. On average, it is a solid C, a satisfactory genre offering.

IMDb readers say 1.9, but that score appears to be meaningless. It is based on only 25 votes, and all three linked reviews are positive.

Amanda Righetti

Bethany Rigazio

Heather Sturm

Kathleen Pederson

unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


From the Showtime Television series "Masters of Horror,"  from the episode "Dreams in the Witch-House," we have Chelah Horsdal with full frontal nudity.


Today's "Babe in Bondage" - Naomi Watts in the re-make of  "King Kong". Naomi of course is not naked. Darn.

 

 

 

 

Hi Scoopy
 
I found a rarely-capped clip of Mia Farrow in "A Wedding." Parts of this sequence I don't think I have ever seen capped. Here are five caps I made. The quality of the clip was not great, but I did what I could with it. 
 
Frypan