One major film star referred to director Nicholas Ray as a "loser," because of Ray's alleged willingness to let his more temperamental actors walk all over him. Evidently, Ray had a very compliant and cooperative cast in King of Kings, inasmuch as the film emerged as one of the most disciplined Biblical epics ever made. Jeffrey Hunter is cast as Jesus Christ, delivering a wholly credible performance in this most taxing of roles (never mind the wags who referred to the film as "I Was a Teenage Jesus"). Siobhan McKenna is a radiant if somewhat overaged Mary; Hurd Hatfield offers a properly preening Pontius Pilate; Rip Torn portrays Judas more for the tragedy than the treachery; Robert Ryan (a personal favorite of Ray's) is one of the best John the Baptists you're ever likely to see; and Harry Guardino convincingly interprets Barabbas as a firebrand political extremist. The only false note in the casting is the MGM-dictated selection of teenaged Brigid Bazlen as Salome. The best aspect of the film is its handling of the days after the Resurrection; the "Jesus sightings" are offered as secondhand information, so as to retain some of the mystery inherent in the Scriptures. King of Kings was previously filmed in 1927 by Cecil B. DeMille, with a middle-aged H.B. Warner as Jesus.
Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to let the enemies tear each other apart. Imprisoned for his "treachery," he escapes just in time to watch the two warring sides wipe each other out. This was his plan all along, and now that peace has been restored, he leaves the village for further exploits. Yes, Yojimbo was the prototype for the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" picture A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The difference is that Fistful relies on Eastwood for its success, whereas Yojimbo scores on every creative level, from director Akira Kurosawa to cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa to Mifune's classic lead performance.
Fury of Hercules (Color, 1963): Mythical muscleman Hercules leads a peasant revolt against cruel tyrannical repression. In a kingdom she inherited from her father, Queen Commidia takes counsel from bloodthirsty Menistus, who believes the only things that keep unruly subjects in line are fear and torture. When the mighty Hercules arrives in the queen's court, he is welcomed by the obviously enamored Commidia, but the barbarity he witnesses in her domain enrages him. This puts Hercules on a collision course with Menistus and his hordes. Starring Brad Harris, Alan Steel, Mara Berni, Serge Gainsbourg; Directed by Gianfranco Parolini. - Vulcan, Son of Jupiter (Color, 1961): Stoked by lust for sultry Venus, Olympic gods Vulcan and Mars erupt into a jealous brawl that draws the wrath of Almighty Jupiter. The King of the Gods sends the two hot-tempered deities down to earth, where they'll be forced to fight out their amorous triangle as mortals. Their conflict becomes complicated when Vulcan's fiery desire for Venus is diverted by Etna, the curvaceous daughter of Neptune, while war-god Mars allies himself with a power-mad human king in an ambitious plan to topple Jupiter from his throne. Starring Rod Flash, Gordon Mitchell, Bella Cortez, Annie Gorassini; Directed by Emimmo Salvi.
Amorous Artie is not your average ladies man. For years, the poor guy couldn’t even get a date. Now, however, formerly dorky Arthur has become a sex-crazed lunatic who murders at the mere sight of cheap gold earrings on cheap cold women. Why? The protuberant answer is found dangling in the office of Dr Cyril Meade where THE AMAZING TRANSPLANT took place.Jealous of his late friend felix’s prowess with women, Arthur blackmailed the doc into slicing off his inadequate, little-used cocktail wienie and replacing it with the virile babe-magnet memeber of dead Felix! Unfortunately, Arthur is shocked to discover that he has also inherited Felix’s funky fetish, specifically a desire to attack any woman wearing - you guessed it - gold earrings! WIth this, the world’s first penis transplant movie, director Doris Wishman ( Bad Girls Go to Hell) has created her single most outrageous epic. With wall-to-wall sex scenes and dialogue that always seems to be recited while the camera is looking somewhere else, THE AMAZING TRANSPLANT offers a psychotic look at a world where men think only with their favorite body parts...even if they’re borrowed.
La Ruée Des Vikings, Gli Invasori, Fury Of The Vikings
Street Date 23/10/2007
Publisher: Starz, Anchor Bay |
Italian director Mario Bava took a brief hiatus from horror films to make this fairly interesting Viking-themed adventure. Iron (Cameron Mitchell) is a Viking leader whose long-lost brother Erik (Giorgio Ardisson) was raised by Queen Alice of England. Alice's counselor, Gunnar (Andrea Checchi) betrays her and helps the Vikings take over, while the shipwrecked Erik is nursed back to health by Rama (Alice Kessleri), the twin sister of Iron's wife Daja (Ellen Kessleri). Naturally, Erik returns home and must fight Iron and defeat Gunnar in order to save the country. It doesn't quite work out that way, however, as the ruthless counselor kills Iron, leading the Vikings and British to join forces with Erik and take Gunnar down.
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