Cinderella Liberty (1973)
I have no goddamned idea why this film has never come to DVD. It
was a respected film in its day, and was nominated for five Golden
Globes, including Best Picture (drama), winning one (Marsha Mason, for
best actress). Miss Mason was also nominated for an Oscar, and the
film received two other Oscar nominations for its music.
And it features a pretty sweet topless scene from Marsha Mason's
own award-winning Golden Globes.
Here's the VHS version:
This is Steve Martin's script adapted from Steve Martin's novel
about a love triangle between a rich businessman, a pretty young
retail clerk, and an aimless young slacker. Claire Danes does a
full rear nude scane, and looks quite good in the process.
The Lost Angel (2004)
The Lost Angel is a
grim police procedural about the investigation of serial killings
which seem to have profound religious, perhaps satanic, undertones.
Like SE7EN, it uses the police story as a vehicle to carry a morbid
character study of the life of the demented killer and some of the
others in his sphere of influence. It isn't a great movie, even by the
reduced standards of straight-to-video fare, but unlike most of the
formulaic films which get churned out for the home video market, this
one is not a write-off. It is not predictable trash from the assembly
line, but rather a film with some very good ideas offset by others not
as good, and with some solid parts
which do not cohere.
The lead character is the usual tough renegade
cop who doesn't play by the rules. We've seen that in hundreds of
earlier films and TV productions, but what makes this different is
that this maverick cop is much farther from the rules than usual, and
is also a beautiful woman. The gender switch gives a
new power to the usual scenes. During what she considers to be an
unfair interrogation by an internal affairs guy, she beats up the
investigator, after provoking him into throwing the first punch.
There's nothing so daring about the concept, but the scene is very
powerful because of her gender. The film also has the guts to go
beyond the usual familiar scenes. During one particularly intense
interrogation, she tells the other cops to turn off any recording
devices, and goes in alone with the suspect. At gunpoint, she makes
him strip, then she gives him a complimentary lap dance complete with
dirty talk. His reaction (or, um, lack thereof) tells her that he is
not the man they're looking for.
The ultra-tough lady cop could have made for a
very effective device if the screenwriter had managed to make those
scenarios believable. Unfortunately, he did not. The suspect I
described above was innocent, mind you, yet he was not only subjected
to that brutalization in front of several other police officers, but
he was also framed with planted drugs. What do you suppose he and his
lawyer will be discussing when he is released? Oh yeah, and the cop
just happens to keep a locker full of heroin and unregistered
firearms, all to be used to frame suspects or to bribe desperate
junkies into becoming informers. It's bad enough that all of those
activities are done while the police captain winks and looks the other
way, but they are also done during the course of an ongoing IA
Oh, by the way, the IA guy was investigating
an incident in which she allegedly shot an unarmed suspect and planted a gun on
him to vindicate her action. Not only did she really do those things she was accused of, but
the suspect turned out to be obviously innocent when another murder
was committed while the suspect was getting his gunshot wound treated
in the hospital. She later offers the rationalization that the second
murder may have been a copycat! Think about that - a copycat who just
happens to know details which have not yet become public, and who just
happens to share the real murderer's ability to write comprehensible
messages in the cuneiform pictographs of ancient Sumeria. Yeah, that's
a plausible theory.
Did I mention that
during the first investigation a priest suddenly appears on the crime
scene from nowhere, and that he's carrying an FBI ID? The amazing
thing is that if the copycat theory had been even remotely possible,
the only possible copycat would have been the fed/priest, who knew
the details of the first murder, and who could read the cuneiform.
Although the lady cop was imaginative enough to conceive of the bizarre copycat
idea, she was not able to see the obvious and inevitable conclusion
forced by that theory!
The rogue cop was actually plausible
compared to one of the material witnesses who was also briefly a
suspect. That happened to be a deaf priest who refused to provide the
investigators with information supposedly obtained during confession.
If you were a trained investigator and a natural skeptic, wouldn't you
be curious to know how a deaf priest can hear confession?
Such a scenario is technically permissible, if both the
priest and penitent agree, but confession traditionally takes place in
a small room where the anonymity of the sinner is protected by
darkness as well as by a screen separating him from the priest.
Given the customary privacy of that ritual, do you think that many
Catholics are going to come voluntarily into a well-lit room and allow
the priest to see their faces so that he can lip-read their sins? The
inspector is not curious about this, nor even vaguely suspicious that
the priest is claiming the confessional privelege improperly. She's simply
pissed off that a priest would withhold any evidence that might save
people's lives, sacred vows be damned!
In addition to
the script's credibility problems, it simply tries to incorporate too
many familiar and hackneyed elements.
- There is a sex scene which comes completely
out of left field. Hey, I loved looking at Alison Eastwood nekkid,
but this specific scene in this particular context seemed to be
inserted as an afterthought because somebody said, "Hey, we should
have some sex and nudity in this film, and maybe a romance between
the male and female cops. Where can we stick it?"
- And then there is the cop's troubled
younger sister, who is used predictably by the policewoman's
- Then there is the inevitable flashback to
childhood incidents which caused the lady cop to become an ornery
BEGIN SPOILERS HERE:
Some of the reviewers and IMDb commenters also
objected to the seemingly illogical surprise twists at the ending of
the film. The first of these two twists did not bother me so much. I
was not surprised to find that one of the police's usual stoolies,
who was supposedly completely unrelated to this particular crime,
was the murderer. There are three reasons why I suspected that might
be the case. (1) He had a lot of screen time, thus invoking the rule
of economy of characters. (2) The police officers mentioned many
times that he seemed to have almost supernatural insight into the
case, and were constantly arguing about whether to bring him in and
make him reveal the source of his uncannily accurate tips. (3) The stoolie
mentioned that he was raised in an orphanage, and the deaf priest
finally confessed that somebody might be trying to harm him, and the
killer might be a son he
fathered in violation of his vows, and subsequently abandoned to be raised in an
The second twist, I must
concede, took me by complete surprise. Not only was the homeless
stoolie the murderer, and the son of the deaf priest, but he didn't
the stoolie was simply the product of the deranged mind of one of
the cops - in fact, the lady cop's partner (and her lover in the
gratuitous sex scene). It turned out that one of the investigating
cops was actually the killer, as well as the son of the ever-cryptic
deaf priest, and the other cops eventually had to gun him down.
There was nothing in the script that led me to
suspect that the stoolie was imaginary, or that the cop had mental
problems, or that the cop committed the crimes, so in a sense I can
see why other reviewers found the final epiphany bewildering and
annoying. But I forgave that operatic plot twist for one reason. I
thought it was really cool, and not entirely impossible. In the
context of a better overall script, that could have been one of the
great surprise endings of all time!
Bottom line, I do not share the general low
opinion implied by a 3.6 score at IMDb. Scores that low should be
saved for completely formulaic and/or incompetent crap. This film
is neither. It has some good ideas, and even has some good execution
from time to time. I believe that if the writer/director had brought
in a collaborator to smooth out the rough edges, The Lost Angel
could have been a good film within the dark legacy of SE7EN,
rather than a forgotten straight-to-vid which looks like an underlit SE7EN
Hyphen World (straight-to-vid and direct-to-cable) has its own
familiar cast of characters. I'm sure many of you know Eric Roberts,
a former mainstreamer exiled to the hyphenated demimonde. The
prolific Mr. Roberts is not in this film, but some other familiar
faces from Hyphen World appear here.
John Rhys-Davies is a good actor, in
fact a very good actor in his native realm - a respected
Shakespearian on stage who has also appeared in some of the most
popular and respected film and TV productions of all time. His name
may not sound familiar to you, but I absolutely guarantee that you
know his face. He played Gimli in the Lord of the Rings films
(although he is actually 6'1", with a very commanding presence), was
Macro in the PBS series "I, Claudius," and was also in the first two
Indiana Jones adventures. For some reason, probably financial, he
always seems to turn up in crappy movies as a king or a high priest
or some other authority figure with a powerful and resonant speaking
voice. I don't know if any actor on the planet, not even Jurgen
Prochnow, can claim to have reached both the heights and the depths
to which Rhys-Davies has traveled.
Check this shit out:
The Rhys-Davies achievement of nine projects
rated below four is nothing to sneeze at. Eric Roberts only has eight,
Prochnow has nine, and even the great grade-B demigod Corbin Bernsen
is not so far ahead with twelve. But the achievements of Mr.
Rhys-Davies in this domain are totally eclipsed by those of one of his
co-stars in The Lost Angel. I am referring to Mr. Ponyboy Soul Man
himself, C. Thomas Howell.
Here is the bottom end of Howell's filmography:
- (4.02) -
Lost Angel (2004)
- (3.99) -
Dogs and Englishmen (1995)
- (3.96) -
Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting (2003) (V)
- (3.87) -
- (3.85) -
- (3.79) -
Out Man (1990)
- (3.75) -
- (3.74) -
- (3.73) -
Poseidon Adventure (2005) (TV)
- (3.65) -
Crimson Force (2005) (TV)
- (3.50) -
- (3.47) -
- (3.38) -
Bees! (2002) (TV)
- (3.26) -
- (3.25) -
Wells' War of the Worlds (2005/I)
- (2.92) -
- (2.86) -
That kinda says it all! He's worked on 16
projects worse than The Lost Angel, four of them in 2005 alone! All
sixteen of them are rated below four. I don't mean to disparage Mr.
Howell with this list. In fact, quite to the contrary. I thought he
did a good job in this film in a crazy over-the-top role, and I'm sure
he gets so much work (32 credits since 2000) because he can always be
counted on to bring professionalism and reliability to his efforts.
While he is not Johnny Depp, he is a substitute within most people's
The Lost Angel also includes a third regular
denizen of Hyphen World, Judd Nelson. Judd is a smart fellow with an
excellent education who seemed to be quite the up-and-coming star in 1984-85,
with a resume from that era which included Making the Grade, Fandango,
St Elmo's Fire and The Breakfast Club. Those were his first four
films, and they seemed to promise a substantial career which never materialized.
Frankly, I don't really know how he ended up going from the Brat Pack
in the mid 80s to his current career in Hyphen World. I don't think he
had Downey Syndrome or anything like that. I lost track of him in the intervening period.
He just seemed to disappear from my radar.
Best Nude Scene Balloting:
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Pacific Banana (1980) is an Australian sexploitation film written by Alan Hopgood (Alvin Purple) and staring Graeme Blundell (Alvin, in Alvin Purple) and Robin Stewert. Robin is wildly successful with the birds. In fact, he is engaged to both stewardesses (Deborah Gray and Alyson Best) on the Banana Airlines plane he pilots. They willingly share him on alternating nights, but neither appreciate his constant cheating. Graeme is fired from his normal pilot job after he is caught having sex with the owner's wife in the air. This was not his fault, however, as she virtually attacked him, leaving him impotent. The boss understands what happened (it is not the first time), and sends him to be a co-pilot for Banana Airlines, a run down company that flies to Tahiti.
The boss' daughter, Helen Hemmingway, keeps stowing away with them, as she wants Graeme. Meanwhile, Robin and his two betrothed keep trying to solve Graeme's problem with a succession of women. He gets interested at first, then sneezes, and loses his erection, as indicated by a wind sock that collapses. There is plenty of opportunity for comedy within this plot, and they go for all of it, even a pie fight in the air with a group of swingers on a charter flight to a discount version of Club Med run by Luan Peters. Luan supplies an endless parade of naked women to help Graeme with his problem.
Luan Peters shows breasts, Helen Hemingway shows breasts and buns, Deborah Gray and Alyson Best do full frontal and rear, Manuia Taie also shows everything, and several unknowns also do varying amounts of nudity.
IMDb readers say 5.5 based on only 27 votes, indicating that the film aged well. Sexploitation is normally in the mid 4 range. Director John D. Lamond (Felicity) was and is pleased with the film. Writer Alan Hopgood feels there was too much script deviation, killing what he feels could have been as good a premise as the Carry On series. Of course, he said the same thing about Alvin Rides Again. The film premiered at Cannes in 1980, and had a general release the next year in Australia. Interestingly, IMDb gives 1981 as the year of release. This is a C+, as a great example of sexploitation sillyness with a never ending supply of attractive naked women who love sex.
'Caps and comments by Oz:
Merry Christmas from the Antipodes!
"House of Fools"
Starting off with a European movie (in Chechen and Russian!) we have House of Fools aka Dom durakov (2002). There's breast exposure by Yuliya Vysotskaya and Yelena Fomina, and an unknown shows a bit of bush.
More breast exposure in the French film Friday Night aka Vendredi Soir (2002). The actress concerned is Valérie Lemercier.
"The Great McGonagall"
Still in Europe, we have The Great McGonagall (1974). When you know it was written by Spike Milligan you will realise why the comedy is so weird. There's completely gratuitous full frontal nudity by an unnamed woman dancing in a prison cell and a breast exposed by a woman having sex with Lord Tennyson.
Another British film, but a more conventional comedy, is Fierce Creatures, the pseudo-sequel to A Fish Called Wanda (same actors, different characters). No nudity but plenty of cleavage by Jamie Lee Curtis, Carey Lowell and Lisa Hogan.
|Jamie Lee Curtis
Across the Irish Sea, we have Headrush (2004). Brief nipple exposure by Laura Pyper and plenty of cleavage by Jacinta Pilkington.
"The Graham Norton Effect"
The Graham Norton Effect (2004) is the American version of Graham Norton's chat show. Cleavage by a seemingly regular guest Jennifer Tilly, and brief pokies by Julie Delpy.
"Do the Right Thing"
Some lovely breast exposure by Rosie Perez in Do the Right Thing (1989), although it could be a body double but I don't think so.
"Murder She Wrote"
Michelle Johnson, most famous for a holiday in Rio, fills out a bikini top very nicely in an episode of Murder She Wrote called Ship of Thieves (1993).
No visible nudity in Sleep Murder (2004) but Kristin Booth looks nice.
"Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman"
Again, no nudity in Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman (2004) but Abby Brammell looks lovely in her underwear.
It's a similar story in Schemes (1994) with Leslie Hope and Polly Draper.
"Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde"
Plenty of nakedness in Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde (1993) by Maureen Flannigan, Tahlia Davis and Robyn Adamson.
||Davis and Adamson