Posts Tagged ‘60s’

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Goyokin 1969/ Toho/ Dir. Hideo Gosha

For reasons of my own, I was watching some heist movies. I like a good heist flick, and there aren’t enough of them. There are lots of heist flicks, but only a few good ones. I had gone through the usual line-up of movies, and after I had exhausted my supply I still felt the need to go once more into the heist film vault. So what I did was examine what you need for a good heist movie. That led me to this Japanese samurai movie set in the 1800s. As opposed to a French samurai movie set in the 1460s I guess? Well, some samurai movies are set during the 1600s, that seems to be the two times we generally get. During the early days of the Tokugawa shogunate or just before the Meiji Restoration, which is the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. Soooo, during the Tokugawa shogunate. You know what? Forget this part! I’ve already said shogunate way too many times.

Why do I call this a heist movie and not a samurai movie?
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“Manos” The Hands of Fate (1966/ Dir. Harold P. Warren) MST3K Episode 24, Season 4, January 30, 1993

When I do reviews of movies that were on MST3K, I get a copy of the movie on its own. No bots, no mads, not a single luxury. Now, I do that for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that I want to watch the movie on its own dubious merits. Once you watch the movie with the bots, you’re watching an episode of the TV show. Second, if you watch a TV broadcast, things may have to be cut for TV standards. Movies can be cut for both time and content, meaning that you might not get the whole movie on the show. Even if you have the whole movie, you’re still breaking up the flow for the commercial breaks and host segments. So I don’t review the episodes, I review the movie clean, or as clean as the DVDs I get will allow. I mention all of this because this movie is down right infamous, there are people who can’t even watch the MST3K episode, so this is heroic in the eyes of some.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 MGM Television Dir. Chuck Jones)

Well, here we are. One of the biggies. I mean, after Charlie Brown, this is THE cartoon classic for my generation, isn’t it? The story of the meanest guy in the Christmas special stable. How does one get their hate on for The Grinch? Oh sure, there is a logical inconsistency at the end, but it’s a small one. Sure the Whos down in Whoville make one rethink the idea of ethnic cleansing, but how do you hate The Grinch? He’s like the best character for people who are, at best, ambivalent about Christmas. Can I hate The Grinch? I doubt it. Can I hate this special? Only time will tell my darlings…

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The Beverly Hillbillies: Turkey Day (1963 CBS Dir. Richard Whorf)

The Beverly Hillbillies is to the south what a Minstrel show is to blacks. It’s nasty, ugly, and carries a lot of very offensive jokes that just are not funny. This episode is in black and white, and it’s hard to think of a time when this was on in prime time, instead of weekday afternoons. Actually, in this day and age it’s hard to imagine this hateful crap was on screen at all. There can be no mystery as to why so many people in America think people from the south are stupid when watching this. This is practically a cavalcade of bigotry, and I hate every moment of it. However, I bought the thing and I need to have a review for this slot so I guess I’d better get to it.

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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966 CBS, Dir. Bill Menedez)

What would Halloween be for a Baby Boomer – Gen Xer former kid without Linus Van Pelt sitting in a pumpkin patch waiting for Santa Claus to come? What’s that? Oh yes, the Great Pumpkin was originally devised by Charles Schultz as an amusing story about Linus being badly confused about Christmas and Halloween. Since Linus started out as an eccentric baby in the strip, this was probably a logical extension of that. Oddly, the sun shows up twice inside of 6 seconds in this thing. Right at the opening bit, They pass the sun, and then just as Linus is going to throw the apple away they pass it again.

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Twice-Told Tales (1963 United Artists Dir. Sidney Salkow

Hey, how about that? An anthology horror movie that isn’t based on Stephen King stories or was made by the good people at American International (a name that frankly confounds me) for a change. It still has Vincent Price in it though, so we’re not totally out to sea without a familiar landmark. We got Vinnie, we’re good. After Tales of Terror did so well, one assumes United Artists wanted to get in on the horror anthology game. Since AIP had a lock on Edgar Allan Poe’s work, UA went for three stories from Nathaniel Hawthorne. Or, maybe they never even heard about Tales of Horror and it was just chance that they got AIP’s biggest star to be in a horror movie for them. Sure, that’s probably it… chance. Probably just chance that it looks like a Corman Poe movie too.

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Tales of Terror (1962 AIP Dir. Roger Corman)

Right before the out and out comedy of The Raven, the idea of adding a little lightness was experimented with in Tales of Terror. This is a little set of three Edgar Allan Poe stories, but done in that very special Corman way, by which I mean they only vaguely follow the original stories if at all. Part of the reasons Corman went on like this is that the stories are actually so short, or in some cases deal almost entirely with sensation, that it would be impossible to spin a coherent narrative out for 90 minutes. Partly it was budget constraints. Fewer characters meant fewer actors. For the most part, they pulled it off. This however, just might be the weakest of the Corman Poe Cycle. It’s okay though, chronologically they hit a low point in the middle and swept back up to great heights by the end. Usually a series dips and then just keeps going down hill, but Corman saved it and brought the whole thing to a triumphant conclusion.

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