Once taboo-breaking, now just shrill French “don’t tell the mother-in-law you’re gay, dad” farce whose reputation rocketed a few years back when Robin Williams appeared in a terrible remake. A trick which didn’t work for The All-New Popeye Show. Further Franco-Italian campery was to come in La Cage aux Folles II, which isn’t a very imaginative title but is better than La Cage Comes Again which is what we imagine it would probably be called now.
C is for…
Miraculously shoddy Penthouse production scripted by a highly embarrassed Gore Vidal and directed by pretentious schlockmeister and top polishing product Tinto Brass. The only reason anyone reading this should bother is the presence of Patrick ‘Magee makes deals. Barratt make moves’ Allen. Recently the version on show has been a fairly intact full-length original (US) cinema release cut, although the notorious “six minutes of sex” added by Penthouse have been tastefully panned and scanned in places. Basically, it’s shit, whatever version it is.
TV CREAM SAYS: AND OF COURSE THE EVENTS HAD ALREADY BEEN PROPERLY DONE BY THE BEEB
Cyril McNiele’s WWI captain turned two-fisted gumshoe has enjoyed more celluloid incarnations than most, from silent outings under the short-lived Astra-National banner, via audible incarnations courtesy Ronald ‘Raffles’ Coleman, John ‘Also Raffles’ Barrymore, Tom ‘The Fucking Falcon’ Conway and Ray ‘Eyes’ Milland, to a supersonic swinging sixties Ralph Thomas revival with Richard ‘Murder in Mind’ Johnson as a spoofy, Bond-lite version of the Captain, and of course, Mel Smith’s Bullshot. Located somewhere in the middle of all that is this one-off MGM effort with Walter Pigeon in the part, David Tomlinson as Algy, and appearances from Bernard ‘M’ Lee and James ‘MT, YK, TSL, TMGROOAYBS?’ Hayter.
TV CREAM SAYS: ROLL ON THE '60S 'SWINGING' DRUMMOND REVIVAL
Worth watching just to see Sid James play a Canadian. We shall now line up the other reasons to watch this film: John ‘dooooomed’ Laurie, Dirk ‘Sparrow’ Bogarde, Stanley Baker and James ‘bleeding time’ Robertson Justice.
TV CREAM SAYS: IT'S ALL A BIG LAND BATTLE OVER SOUP - SORRY, OIL RIGHTS
This rotten sub-Confession is the unlikely product of an unholy alliance between Hazel ‘Crossroads’ Adair and Kent “grapple fans” Walton, in which Jeremy ‘Boba Fett’ Bulloch tries his hand at various jobs – wi-hi-hith saucy consequences! High points include Richard O’Sullivan’s ‘special guest appearance’ as a real ‘whoops, get her, ducky’ limp-wristed caricature gay (complete with sailor boyfriend!), a running “gag” where a naked person runs into shot for no reason whatsoever (“You can’t come streaking in ‘ere!”); brilliantly bad direction, a dodgy lounge music soundtrack by Zzebra, the obligatory ‘drugged at swimming pool sex orgy’ scene a la The Stud; and Bulloch’s y-fronts with an iron-on cartoon tiger head on the front.
TV CREAM SAYS: AGAIN WE HAVE TO ASK: WHO WATCHED THESE THINGS WHEN THEY CAME OUT?
Robert Redford partakes of some fear and loathing on the ’72 campaign trail in this great pseudo-doc satire, with backup from Peter ‘putting on the Ritz’ Boyle, Michael ‘Lipnick’ Lerner, genuine ‘see the Hunter S Thompson book for further information’ senators Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern, and genuine as-themselves celebs Natalie Wood and, er, Ken ‘Orrible Ives’ Jones.
TV CREAM SAYS: IBOGAINE ADDICTION NOT PICTURED
Oh dear, Richard Burton. And Marlon Brando, and Walter Matthau, and Charles Aznavour, and James Coburn… Most all the big names involved in this ludicrous adaptation of Terry Southern’s highly suspect ‘dumb blonde gets felt up by assortment of ugly nutballs in the name of countercultural satire’ could be said to be losing it with this one. Burton, as comedy Byronic poet with permanently windswept hair (even indoors) called MacPhisto (well, Bono’s clearly seen this film, then), takes the piss out of his famous gravelly voice with a silly mock lecture, gets driven about by Sugar Ray Robinson, and ends up shagging a life-size toy doll. Walter Matthau is a stock ‘crazed general’ flying about in a special plane and suffering from premature ejaculation. James Coburn is a bearded surgeon conducting a triumphantly bloody operation. Ringo Starr plays a revolutionary Mexican gardner who shags the ‘heroine’ over a pool table. Charles Aznavour plays a demented acrobatic hunchback who shags the ‘heroine’ over a knackered piano. ‘Best’ of all, Marlon Brando plays a levitating Indian guru. No-one, as you may have guessed, is coming out of this looking very good, except perhaps the cast and crew of the other Southern film adaptation The Magic Christian, which is a masterpiece of coherent narrative and razor-sharp satire by comparison.
TV CREAM SAYS: ... THERE'S NOTHING WE *CAN* SAY THAT'LL BE ANY HELP AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME. TAKE CARE.
Top flight ’60s hairspray-based spying mish-mash, with Doris Day (in a variety of ‘swinging’ outfits and outsize round sunglasses – check) involved in cosmetics-based intrigue and drug-smuggling, with a blue eye shadow wearing Richard ‘Camelot’ Harris, a cross-dressing Ray ‘My Favourite Martian’ Walston and debonair cosmetics chief Edward ‘Knight Rider’ Mulhare, all whipped up into a knowingly deranged Mod frenzy by ex-Warner Brothers cartoon director Frank ‘Hare Remover’ Tashlin. For OTT set design and jet-set glamour (Spy-vs.-Spy ski slope shootouts, private jet interiors, that infamous chain-suspended double bed, the Eiffel Tower – check), misplaced critical derision and star disownment, multi-plot, confusion and arbitrary, wild shifts of tone, only Casino Royale beats it, we’re saying. Enjoy.
TV CREAM SAYS: GREAT SCENE WHERE DAY TAKES A BREATHER FROM THE ACTION AND VISITS A CINEMA TO WATCH... CAPRICE!
Gregory Peck here as Forrester’s schoolboy-amusingly-named naval hero coping manfully with the twin encumbrances of Napoleon’s fleet on his back and Richard ‘Mr Pastry’ Hearne as his batman. Hearne was, of course, nearly cast as replacement for Dr Who Jon P’twee, a gig he blew completely by insisting to Barry Letts that he play the role as Mr Pastry. Which would, we inevitably muse, have been brilliant, with bowler hat, drunken pirouetting, a Delia Darbyshire remix of Pop Goes The Weasel and everything. Also on board – James Robertson Justice, Stanley Baker, Christopher Lee and Sam Kydd.
TV CREAM SAYS: WE'D ALSO LOVE TO SEE TOM BAKER'S VERSION OF 'THE LANCERS'
Robert Ryan and Bill Fraser, together at last! There’s a distinct Saturday night serial flavour about this we reckon, if only because of the crappy gold lame costumes and endless use of the same exterior shot of Templemere – Nemo’s supposed HQ -, but even so Robert Ryan is such a bizarre choice for Nemo and so unsympathetic, especially if you’ve spent the Xmas holidays watching Billy Budd about half a dozen times, that it’s difficult not to wish from the very outset that Snudge isn’t able to commandeer the Nautilus and immediately hold the world to ransome for its entire supply of Wodka or somesuch.
TV CREAM SAYS: THE ONLY NOTABLE PRODUCTION FROM 'OMINA PICTURES LTD'
No, it’s not *that* Captain Scarlet. It’s a bit ordinary this. Richard ‘Ian Symes’ Greene plays a French nobleman who comes back from the Napoleonic wars to find that his lands have been nicked. He teams up with another loser to try and win them back and there’s a woman involved as well. Hey-ho. The only thing of note is that his handless sidekick was played by a chap called Nedrick Young. No foolin’!
TV CREAM SAYS: WRITTEN BY THE MAJESTICALLY MONIKERED HOWARD DIMSDALE
The balance of world power hinges on the life of a single, mysterious refugee (it says here). It’s up to Charlotte Rampling and Dr Samuels off of St Elsewhere to get him out of France and off to New York in this no frills Alistair MacLean adaptation. As we reveal in our forthcoming book, From Angel Heart to Zardoz – Rampling Through the Decades, this was our Lottie’s boom year – after faff like this, Zardoz and The Ski Bum, The Night Porter came out, and then it was respected Euro hit after respected Euro hit. Er, until Orca. But that measured analysis still doesn’t explain why our book devotes its first eighteen chapters to Charlotte’s career up to and including beating up Patrick MacNee in The Avengers: The Superlative Seven, while the last twenty years take up all of three short paragraphs full of typos.
TV CREAM SAYS: AND NOTHING ON BASIC INSTINCT 2
One of the more extraordinary things about this Alec Guinless feature, whereby his ineffectual and gormless character (Ho! Ho!) plans a five year rise to be Mayor of his Lancashire hometown from being a poor rent collector, is the hassle involved in his securing a loan from the bank. Not that it’s any easier at the moment to extract cash from the claw-like grip of the ranks of usurers and shysters that constitute high street banks nowadays, but we’re fairly sure they don’t require an application to be countersigned by a member of the aristocracy anymore. There’s also the fact that none of Alec’s tenants, or rather the tenants of the landlord he collects for, hate his guts which, unless we’ve been lied to by every kitchen sink dramatist and Northern comedian that ever drew breath, they certainly should have done. For all that this is a lovely little film really.
TV CREAM SAYS: WHO NOW WOULD CONSIDER BECOMING MAYOR OF YOUR HOME TOWN TO BE A GOAL WORTH ACHIEVING?
Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas star in the same film and still it’s not very good! At least this lesser Boulting comedy of diplomatic manners has a few decent bits, and also John Le Mesurier, Nicholas Parsons, Irene Handl, Marianne Stone, Sam Kydd and Kenneth Griffith to look out for.
TV CREAM SAYS: WE PREFER THE MOUSE THAT ROARED. BUT THEN, WE'RE JUST SILLY
Nicked off an old Twilight Zone episode which in turn was nicked off old twisty chestnut An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (as are 90% of films with ‘you’ll never get it!!!’ twists these days), and with a load of stock zombies bunged in, you’d expect this creaky old US horror to be a washout in no uncertain terms, but it’s saved from being AN Other ’60s Yank shocker by an odd scene in which Stock Frightened Lady has a nightmarish episode in which she can neither hear nor communicate with anyone in a shop.