Actual proper genius Ray Harryhausen is the real – only! – reason to watch this in fact, as his input constitutes really the only usable parts of this since, stripped of its Dynamation goodness, there’s hardly anything left of note. Honor Blackman is the only one of the gods who ever gets a mention in reviews and that’s got sod all to do with being any good and everything to do with being the only recognisable one and the rest of them being bloody awful, Hermes at the outset looking like a giant camp exercise in half-arsed exposition. With wings. The whole chess game schtick is massively tiresome and the venture taken as a whole doesn’t even a proper ending, it just sort of, well, stops. Just as well then that those hand thrown skeletons were on hand alongside the other less famous alumni like Telos, the giant brass Doctor Who fan with a helmet on who picks up and shakes the Argo around for pronouncing Logopolis incorrectly, and the Harpies who exist to torment actual children’s television character Dr WHO? himself.
J is for…
Last of the Gainsborough crinolines ‘n’ capes period melodramas, with Margaret Lockwood as a clairvoyant girl who inherits a manor. What they gain in budget (better sets and Technicolour) they lose in quality, especially compared to – ooh, take an example purely at random – The Wicked Lady. Dennis Price and Lockwood’s Wicked co-star, the late Patricia Roc, star, and John Laurie and Esma ‘Flo’ Cannon make up the numbers.
TV CREAM SAYS: "I WISH I WERE A HOUSE." EH?
Unlikely son of Roy Scheider Dennis ‘Enemy Mine’ Quaid teams up with Sea Life Centre owner Louis ‘Enemy Mine’ Gosset Jr to blow up some more sharks, ably assisted by Neil off of Family Ties and Manimal. Legend has it that this started life as a laboured pisstake of the two previous films, but somewhere along the line the actual gags were cut out, leaving just a very bad straight shark film. Still, sweet wrappers at the ready! Oh, they’re not showing that print, are they?
TV CREAM SAYS: JAWS: THE REVENGE TASTEFULLY SKIRTED AROUND BY US
Cast your mind back – if you will – and try to recall if you can how big a hit Romancing the Stone was. Can’t quite do it, eh? We saw that particular roller coaster of thrills and spills a couple of weeks back for the first time in…oooooh, yeeeeears, and couldn’t recall what all the fuss was about or much to do with it at all (apart from the total recall involved in people incessantly saying, “that’s him from Taxi,” in the pictures). This, of course, was the sequel to that and manages to be not even as good as the original was. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas star – or actually fill in the time until Danny DeVito is back on screen again – in this tale of a hunt for treasure turning into a battle against an evil desert tyrant, which must be an allegory for something.
TV CREAM SAYS: FEATURING PAUL DANIELS SHOW MAINSTAYS THE FLYING KARAMAZOV BROTHERS
This isn’t the Cushing/McClure Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation At The Earth’s Core (the one with those pterodactyl things that made a backwards noise when they blinked), nor is it the Italian version with Kenneth More, whatever the hell that one was like. And it’s clearly not Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth on Ice. An altogether better proposition, this is the original ’50s version with James Mason and, er, Pat Boone, with impressive Technicolor stalactite caves, and less impressive iguanas with stuck-on rubber fins.
TV CREAM SAYS: AND INTRODUCING GERTRUDE THE DUCK
Arthouse takes on punk! Derek Jarman got endless stick from the likes of Siouxsie Sioux and Vivienne Westwood over this spit-drainingly pretentious homage to the anarchists of Callaghan’s Britain. Jenny ‘Final Programme’ Runacre, Toyah, Little Nell and Adam Ant are among the ‘clammy slags’ indulging in squalid polythene sex and dumping agents of The Man in the Thames while a time-hopping Elizabeth I (Runacre again) looks on aghast. Buckingham Palace becomes a recording studio, and Westminster Abbey a knocking shop, amongst various other bits of brick-subtle satirical business. Still, there’s visual interest of a sort in the bombed-out Docklands locations and, er, Toyah’s orange body warmer.
TV CREAM SAYS: THE BEST PUNK-RELATED FILM EVER MADE. WHICH IS SAYING NOTHING AT ALL - APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH
Stanley Kramer’s accessible account of the war trials. “Ah, but can an event of such enormity be made accessible without recourse to sentiment and triviality?” “If it brings together Judy Garland, William Shatner and Colonel Klink off Hogan’s Heroes, more power to it, I say.”
TV CREAM SAYS: "MORE THAN A MOTION PICTURE,IT IS AN OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCE IN HUMAN EMOTION YOU WILL NEVER FORGET!" STEADY ON THERE
Floundering Victorian sci-fi comedy in which the effects of Les ‘Vampire Circus’ Bowie vie with Dennis Price’s weird northern accent, as Burl Ives plays a moonshot-instigating, Phineas T Barnum, Gert Frobe an exploding German nutcase, Terry-Thomas and Lionel Jeffries, er, themselves, and Stratford Johns, Graham Stark and Jimmy Clitheroe – Jimmy Clitheroe! – fill out the bowler-hatted cast. Cheap fruity daftness for a damp afternoon.
TV CREAM SAYS: THIS FAIR-DO FLIM-FLAM COULD SO EASILY HAVE BEEN A CLASSIC: THE LEAD ROLE NEARLY WENT TO BIG CROSBY
Piss-poor Whoopi Goldberg comedy with no actual jokes to speak of, but, going some way to make up, Jonathan Pryce, Tracey Ullman, Annie ‘Janine from Ghostbusters’ Potts, a Tap double bill of Michael McKean and Tony ‘Ian Faith’ Hendra, and, best of all, a clip of the Benny Hill Show. Why not just put on the Benny Hill Show?
TV CREAM SAYS: IT'S A GIT, GIT GIT
Frankie Howerd plays – oh yes! – Willie Joy, owner of a feckless greyhound which can’t race, but lands him in a whole heap of trouble! Marvellous. Stanley Holloway, Alfie Bass, Bill Fraser, Richard Wattis, Joan Hickson, Lionel Jeffries, Arthur Mullard and Charles Hawtrey are the faces to stay awake for.