Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Class leaves the airwaves: GSN drops b&w programs

I often lament on the program how it is IMPOSSIBLE to find black and white television and movies anywhere on cable these days, aside from the very visible and extremely welcome Turner Classic Movies. True, there is the one trio of vintage shows that is always allowed to remain on in reruns, even as George Lopez, that godawful Tim Allen show, and other substandard Eighties/Nineties/2000s sitcoms fill the schedules of the “classic TV” networks. The three that are allowed to stay on? (Yes, I think of it that way) I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and The Twilight Zone. Aside from those three, the one shining example of a tie with Television Past was the Game Show Network’s “Black and White All Night” block of programs. It began as two hours when the network signed on, then was reduced to one a few years ago and, as of tonight, is off the air.

Game Show Network is, of course, a pretty poor excuse for a channel: their originals are threadbare and mundane, and their recent reruns (the ones they’re staking the bank on) are as stale as yesterday’s news (yeah sure, Slumdog was based on the Millionaire concept — but has that gotten anyone at all to endure those rancid reruns of the Regis Philbin shows? If there’s anything certain about a craze, it’s that it ages very, very quicky and quite badly). The nightly airing on GSN of What’s My Line from the show’s very beginning in 1950 until its signoff on a sad night in 1967, has been the one way in which the banner of 1950s TV has been held aloft on cable, albeit in a very tiny little late-night niche. Nostalgia is very much out of fashion, but it was nice that one network had chosen to stick with real classic TV, and to acknowledge that, yes, there WAS indeed television before The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, and the absolutely execrable sitcoms that make up the Nick/TV Land rerun schedule (those two channels have had about as much connection to classic television in the last decade as American Movie Classics has had to respect for classic moviemaking).

And so the opportunity to regularly follow a classic program like What’s My Line? is now snatched away, in the manner that all other good Fifties and Sixites (and now Seventies) shows have been eradicated from cable. Cable and satellite TV are touted to offer limitless possibilities: if you like sports, Christian broadcasting, mediocre TV series, insipid TV movies, and painfully bad multiplex flicks, you’ve got a helluva selection. If you like foreign movies, tough luck (Sundance Channel and a handful of movies each month on TCM should do ya); if you like vintage television, really good shows from the past, forget it and just try to find them on DVD (boxed or bootlegged), or visit the Paley Centers in NYC and LA, the only place where this programming will ultimately be available.

For those that weren’t watching it, the joy of catching WML on GSN was the immediate connection to a lost world — one where urbane and really intelligent people played a silly parlor game, but with such sincerity you couldn’t help but be charmed. The cycle begins with an early, early 1950 kinescope of the first show — with a poet who was later blacklisted on the panel, Phil Rizzuto as the “mystery guest,” and the stalwart Arlene Francis wearing so much makeup for the cameras she looks like a Kuklapolitan player. (I hope that made three fans of Fifties TV smile.)

As the cycle moved on, I was mesmerized not only by the amazing A-list caliber of the mystery guests, but also the amazing intelligence of the panel (sure, sure, there is still Jeopardy on TV for armchair eggheads, but WML showed that yesterday’s celebs were a damned savvy bunch compared to today’s reality show camera-hogs). Also a gift to behold: the fourth chair, from which they pushed out a guy named Hal Block (comedy writer) for a young “humorist” new to NYC, Funhouse deity Steve Allen (who coined the oddball query "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" on the program). After Steve hit it big with The Tonight Show in 1953, radio legend (and TV failure) Fred Allen took over the seat. When he died, the array of AMAZING men that sat in that chair was a laundry list dear to my heart: in addition to the many Random House authors Bennett Cerf called upon when someone couldn’t show up, there were class-acts like David Niven and James Mason, raconteurs like Peter Ustinov and Victor Borge, sui generis comic gods like Groucho and Ernie Kovacs, and young comics like Mort Sahl, Dick Cavett, Peter Cook, and Woody Allen (who spoofed the show brilliantly as "What's My Perversion?" in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex...) — so yes, you had a seat in which three generations of fucking genius comics with the name Allen (natal or chosen) sat: Fred, Steve, and Woody.

A number of newspaper articles were written about the fact that GSN was still running this “relic” of TV past on a nightly basis. In fact, I have the feeling the reason it stayed on for so long — I had the unmistakable impression it was too good to last — was because some writers from The New York Times and elsewhere were addicted to it, and wrote generous pieces that kept the public aware of its existence. On the GSN.com message board, posters indicate that the network’s licensing deal with Goodson-Todman had expired, but I could find no official acknowledgement of that. That would seem to not be the case because, as I write this, a color 1960s rerun of Password is airing in what used to be the second b&w show’s timeslot — yes, that b&w show, To Tell the Truth, was a creaky rerun, but the other G-Ts, most especially I’ve Got a Secret when they were at their best, were like spun gold to nostalgia buffs. Password was a G-T production, as was Match Game, which is an “acceptable” piece of Seventies nostalgia (for the moment).

The loss of What’s My Line? specifically, and the “black and white hour” on GSN more generally, is extremely sad for those of us who feel that, out of a cable dial containing a thousand choices, it would be only fitting to devote one network to real classic TV. Couldn't one channel contain the programming created in the thirty-five-year span before the truly awful sitcoms of the mid-Eighties took hold?

Farewell, Arlene, Bennett, Dorothy, urbane fourth panelist, and John Charles Daly — you remain class acts, although you are now truly reduced to museum pieces.

And for the clips...
As you might have guessed, the hardcore nostalgia-buff audience has posted some beautiful clips from the show on YouTube, about 700 thus far. Among them are a breadbox maker coming on (to see if Steve is savvy), the appearance of the other Goodson-Todman hosts (including Gene Rayburn, from the then-fledgling Match Game), and some nice double entendres from the show.

One of the rarer early mystery guests, the only one I know of who used a translator on the show, Anna Magnani:

The immortal Dali:

Ernie Kovacs on the panel, talkin’ some Hungarian to Zsa Zsa:

The one, the only, Groucho as the MG. He did it more than once, but this is one of the best:

Sammy, rockin’ that eyepatch:

Jerry Lewis, on the panel, bein’ rude to a large lady:

Since this is the Fifties, there must be Liz Taylor:

Nichols and May:

The inimitable Peter Ustinov:

A comic god who’s still with us, Jonathan Winters:

Brian Epstein gets figured out pretty quickly:

The cast of Broadway’s Luv: Alan Arkin, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson:

And one of the great latter-day guests, Judy Garland, who seems like she’s a little hyper (she’s readying herself for the role in Valley of the Dolls):

And the single best find on YouTube, some wonderful gent’s posting of a 1975 ABC special on which John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly, Arlene Francis, and Mark Goodson present their favorite clips. The show starts off with three killers: Groucho, Fred Allen, and Woody, and then moves onward to other great things. The fourth part starts out with a clip we never saw on GSN: the Martin and Lewis appearance (my assumption as to why that kine was listed as "missing" by the GSN folks: Jer purchased it from G-T or Viacom?).

Friday, March 27, 2009

One of the best "worsts" ever: Can Hieronymus Merkin...

I’ve been very proud of the many obscure film clips I’ve shown on the Funhouse, but some demand that I return to them again and again, to confront the usual question, namely “what the hell were they thinking???” In the canon of really big and really crazy-bad (so bad they’re imminently rewatchable) late Sixties films, few titles loom as large as Anthony Newley’s ego-trip Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?

The film’s title sums up a major part of the plotline, but you’ll never believe the tripped-out weirdness that Tony N. presented us with in this film, which has, natch, never seen the light of VHS or DVD. Newley stars as a daydream/nightmare vision of himself — the ultimate song-and-dance man, a man highly desired by women, and the kind of a guy who would tell his life story (in excruciatingly egomanical) style to his two kids and mother on an empty beach, while a film crew (run by, who else... Anthony Newley!) makes a modernist musical sex-comedy out of it. Newley’s wife Joan Collins (who pretty much made on the argument on a British profile of her that the film was the goodbye kiss for their relationship) performs a musical number with Tony, while Milton Berle (as the Devil) and Georgie Jessel (as Death) contribute the “laughs.”

Here I offer a quintet of clips from the film. First, the film’s set-up, and intros of Georgie and Uncle Miltie:

The full “Chalk and Cheese” number, a duet between a nude Newley (thankfully seen only from the back) and his then-wife, Joan Collins. I’m not going to explain the dummy Hieronymus. Because I can’t.

Hieronymus meets Mercy, his Lolita-like object of fascination (played by Playboy Playmate Connie Kreski, who was 23 at the time).

The trippiest moments in the film and the ones wherein Newley’s Fellini influece is felt (to the detriment of ol’ Federico’s legacy). Includes a bloody Satanic mass presided over by Berle (Abe Lastfogel was a noted Hollywood agent):

One more trippy bit, and the latter half of the film’s dopiest sequence, a long fairytale song that appears out of nowhere called “Trampolina Whambang.”

Big Boy in the big town: B.S. I Love You

Deceased Artiste Peter Kastner (who died in September of last year) was best known for his starring role in Francis Coppola’s You’re a Big Boy Now(1966), but he also had a few featured roles after that — except the films and series weren’t very good. Case in point: the derivative schlemiel-makes-good comedy B.S. I Love You(1971). The film has some wonderful NYC location shots, and features the lovely Joanna Cameron, better known as the Saturday morning superheroine “Isis” seducing our hero. The film has never been out on VHS or DVD.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be: Warner's roll-out of "made to order" titles

So the biggest "nostalgia" movie news that got mainstream attention this week was the fact that the just-awful Farrellys are planning a ridiculous resurrection of the Three Stooges. You know, since the two resurrections of Laurel and Hardy — the Gailard Sartain/Bronson Pinchot For Love or Mummy and Blake Edwards’ lunk-headed idea to remake the sublime Music Box with Ted Danson and Howie Mandel as A Fine Mess — and the sideways redo of the Marx Bros. (Brain Donors with John Turturro), did so phenomenally well….

The news that caught my attention, though, was the decision by Warner Brothers' DVD label to put 150 of their titles up for sale, on a “made to order” basis for 20 dollars per. What’s interesting about this is that it both acknowledges the fact that people aren’t buying DVDs in great numbers anymore, and it also shows that while DVD was going to be the medium-to-end-all-media in the home-entertainment arena, VHS actually was.

The Dark Horizons site notes that Warner’s library contains 7,000 titles and only 1,200 have been released thus far on disc. If you go to the site that Warner has put up, you’ll see a list of very interesting “marginal” titles. Sure, the finest titles have already been put out or are being prepped for release. Sure, there a few major clunkers in this group — things like Yes, Giorgio and at least two Kristy McNichol titles. What’s most interesting is that these titles, which, obviously are not anywhere “in the pipeline” for DVD, were pretty much all out on VHS. Sure, there might’ve been a few that slipped through the cracks and have never been issued in any format, but the films with major names included here were definitely out in that now-forgotten format that still remains the best method of obtaining obscure titles instantly (should you have a store in your town that still rents old tapes; most public libraries do, because that's the machine older folks still use regularly).

I’ve already written about my status as a fan who has a big library of both tapes and discs, and still relishes the experience of laying hands on a film quickly by renting from a “brick and mortar” store, meaning your standard video-rental emporium. Thus I’ve never been one to rush to buy things outright — if I can get it on discount, or rent it and (yes, I’ll be the first to admit) dub the damned thing, I then have it for the collection and the hoped-for repeat viewings (but, do they ever really happen…? That’s an issue for another time…).

It’s noted in the information online that the 150 titles offered initially will be supplemented by 20 titles per month, and that the films will also be available as a digital download for 15 dollars. What is interesting about the titles they’ve made available initially is that they are in a way announcing that the cults of Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo are greatly diminished, to put it kindly — there are a number of titles starring at least one of the trio (and Chained has both Gable and Crawford).

For an auteurist like myself, I lament that Robert Altman’s unsuccessful but still watchable Countdown, Budd Boetticher’s only non-Columbia Western with Randolph Scott Western Westbound, and especially, Francis Coppola’s terrific The Rain People will not be released on DVD.

I also actually really liked one of several underrated John Heard films from the early Eighties, Heart Beat(1980), wherein Heard, Sissy Spacek, and Nick Nolte play out the triangle between Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Carolyn Cassady.

In any case, if I liked any of these pics, I do have them in my still-overwhelming VHS collection. I guess I should be satisfied to simply dub over the old copy to DVD-r when the time comes — that time being when I’ve gotten the “primaries” transferred (every film fan with a collection spends much time cataloging, finding space for, and then redubbing for "archival purposes," the same list of favorite movies). I’ll be very curious to see what shows up on the Warner site, and will in the meantime rely on my own meager copies of the films. And hope that TCM — which essentially has the rights to air any and all of these titles — will show the restored versions very soon....

Thanks to Paul G. for pointing me toward the complete list of titles available here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Deceased Artiste Natasha Richardson: the Actress

Natasha Richardson’s sad, premature death this week was a big story in the news, but I’m not sure that people reading the tragic tale had actually seen her in anything besides one children’s picture. Like many talented performers, her screen work had been inconsistent due to the quality of the movies she appeared in, but she had shown range and presence, and I thought I’d post just a few clips to give an idea of what she was like during her most interesting period as a film actress, in the late Eighties and early Nineties. After that, her stage work was heralded, and she was raising her children while doing “easier” parts in things like the Jennifer Lopez vehicle Made in Manhattan and, in what appears to be her best-known role among mainstream moviegoers, as Lindsay Lohan’s mom (one of the twin Lindsay Lohans) in the remake of The Parent Trap.

Thus, although the press depicted her as Liam Neeson’s wife and, for those who remember, Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson’s daughter, she did have a pretty solid movie career for at least a decade. From that period, I’ve provided three of the four clips in this montage. I decided to leave out another interesting starring role from this era, Volker Schlondorff’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1990). It’s a good, interesting film, but isn’t anywhere near as compelling as the novel it was based on, and is more of an interesting technical challenge (how to mount a modernist sci-fi “message pic” — of the sort that never sells any tickets in theaters) than a showcase for performances.

Thus we start out with Richardson’s first starring film role, in Ken Russell’s gleefully over-the-top fantasy based on the famous evening that spawned Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, titled Gothic (1986). “Uncle Ken” has worked with three of the “Redgrave girls” — mother Vanessa (The Devils), Natasha, and sister Joely (Lady Chatterley). This was the first time most of us saw Natasha, and it was apparent from the first that she was an uncommonly beautiful version of her mother — not quite equipped with Mom’s immaculate talents as a performer, but a fine actress nonetheless, and pretty sexy to boot. She never disrobes entirely, quite a surprise in a Russell feature of that time, but does spend most of her time in the film not writing Frankenstein, but running around being terrorized by primal fears in a nightgown.

From her work with “Uncle Ken” (who was
interviewed on the Funhouse), she went on to do two very challenging roles with director Paul Schrader. The first of the two, Patty Hearst (1988), is certainly the bigger tour de force, as the film is hers entirely. The only problem is that the film’s perception of Hearst’s character is muddy – motivations are cloaked or missing, and her life before the kidnapping is only referred to in passing. It was apparent that Ms. Hearst dictated how the film should view her participation in “the Symbionese Liberation Army” and their crimes (and lifestyle), and so the film was one I believe Schrader was ultimately frustrated by. Nevertheless, it is excellent on a stylistic level (with its depiction of the kidnapping from the victim’s point of view) and, even though the lead role is a mess of contradictions, Richardson did her best to “find” the character, and wound up giving a terrific performance.

Her next film with Schrader, The Comfort of Strangers(1990), is a total success, a menacingly kinky melodrama that, while based on a novel by Ian McEwan, has the feel of Sixties English movies like The Servant. This is perfectly natural, since Harold Pinter wrote the screenplays to both films. Strangers is completely and utterly stolen by Christopher Walken in his scenes, but the featured characters are the dissatisfied but still horny couple played by Richardson and Rupert Everett. The conversation included in this montage is a weird little exchange that gives a feel for the film’s toying with the viewer — it’s apparent that both members of the young couple are desirable (especially to creepy Chris), but which one is more desirable? Well, they’ll just have to argue about that, won’t they?

And, since Richardson’s career did continue up until the present day, I decided to include a later clip, but one that I think of generally as a sort of “comic relief.” She starred in the final Merchant-Ivory collaboration The White Countess (2005), which is a terribly corny evocation of Hollywood’s Golden Age that finds Ralph Fiennes as a blind American in 1930s Shanghai dreaming of opening a nightclub. He does, and has Russian Natasha work for him, as the two slowly, ridiculously circle around each other in a romantic sense. The film is camp of the finest sort (unintentional, that is), and is notable because it has scenes where Natasha interacts with the aristocratic (now poverty-stricken) family of her dead husband. The two matriarchs in the family are played by her mother Vanessa and aunt Lynn, who do their best “Rooshian” accents, and while the two are tremendous performers, the whole thing has the feel of a Von Sternberg pic, missing the savvy and style (and brevity) that old Joe would’ve brought to the project.

Richardson’s best work is supposed to have been on the stage, but she did establish herself nicely on screen in her two-decade career. The strongest British performers generally have had weird filmographies — the tremendous generation that flourished in the sixties and early Seventies (her mom, Glenda Jackson, Alan Bates, Oliver Reed) did wind up diluting their legacy in some ways, or just tainting folks’ memory of their work, by appearing in blatant crap. However, since their work ethic meant that these actors made great movies in amongst the dross (unlike, say, our own breed of great-actor-turned-multiplex star, like De Niro), they could be forgiven many, many cinematic “sins.” Natasha Richardson had a film career that was not exactly as stellar as that of her mother and aunt, but she did show herself to a seasoned, extremely talented actress in the movies she left behind.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Elusive Genius: Chris Marker

As we speak about arthouse films starting to “disappear” into odd legal limbos (see below), we needn’t worry about one genius French auteur. Chris Marker’s films have always been hard to see in the United States. Sure, there is the one excellent Criterion Collection release of his two most famous films, the perfect La Jetee(1962) and the unclassifiable documentary/essay/travelogue/memoir Sans Soleil(1982). Recently a group of four other Marker films were put out on DVD in conjunction with the Wexner Center in Ohio (from which someone posted a comment on this blog, back on this entry.

Here’s a snippet from the most recent Marker slice of brilliance The Case of the Grinning Cat(2004):

Aside from the odd inclusion on a Criterion disc (his A.K. can be found on the Ran package) all of Marker’s other films (he’s made over 40, and collaborated on several more) can’t be obtained over here. And thus, we depend on (where else?) YouTube for some exposure to the missing work. His very first feature, Olympia ’52(1952), can be found

That is a rare find, as are these two items, a piece of
recent Marker computer animation and a gorgeous study of a woman's face (in this case, actress Catherine Belkhodja, the mother of actress Isild Le Besco) made for a gallery exhibition.

Also a piece of space-art from our favorite Marker of time and space:

For those who are Marker initiates, there’s always been a desire to see the reclusive, secretive master at work. Well, YouTube gives that away that mystery too (don’t look if you’d rather preserve the enigma of the man who was described by his friend Alain Resnais as perhaps being “an alien” – spoiler alert!):

The two most interesting things I’ve discovered recently (besides the above “spoiler”) concerning Chris the brilliant is the original version of one of the films described above, namely Chats Perches which is an alternate version of Grinning Cat minus the very poetic but top-heavy English narration. In France it was apparently shown as a silent film with intertitles (imagine any American filmmaker doing that in 2009 – although I wish they’d try….):

And finally, the piece de resistance, one of only three other film projects Marker worked on (besides his masterpiece La Jetee) that belongs to the sci-fi genre (these are his only overtly fictional scenarios, btw). Here we have a nice slice of history, Marker’s collaboration with Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk (best known for his later erotic features). It’s called Les Astronauts(1959) and is a wonderful cut-out animation short. It is not subtitled, but it doesn’t need to be:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The future of art cinema’s past is unwritten

To keep you folks up on the strange and sad stories of how the rights to great arthouse pics of the past are slowly "disappearing," let me pass on this odd tale from The New York Times in which it is revealed that the owners of a movie theater in Aspen, Colorado now own the rights to the films made by Svensk Filmindustri. Yes, that’s the right, the back-catalogue of the late great Bergman, plus everything else the company made, including such famous titles as Elvira Madigan and My Life as a Dog.

You can read how this ridiculous situation came about in the article. It makes a nice add-on to the death of New Yorker films (which I wrote about below, on this same blog). The latest news on that front? There will be an auction for the rights to some of New Yorker’s holdings tomorrow. To wit:
On March 12, 2009, Technicolor, Inc. and certain of its affiliates will be conducting a secured party auction sale of certain of the assets of New Yorker Films. The winning bidder(s) at the auction will purchase some or all of the available assets but not assume any of New Yorker Films' liabilities. If you are interested in participating in the auction as a potential purchaser, please contact *** of Technicolor - New York at 110 Leroy Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10014, telephone number ****; email: ***

It is New Yorker Films' sincere hope that the purchaser of our assets will be a well qualified distributor with the intention and ability to manage and distribute the fine films we have had the privilege of distributing in a manner consistent with New Yorker Film's 43 year history in the independent film world.

So certain arthouse masterpieces of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies are now sitting in a legal limbo. Sure, the best-known Bergmans are out on DVD (with dozens more available only if you hunt through troves of old VHS). But this indicates what one viewer-friend had called “the telescoping” of American culture. We have a view of things that has gotten very, very limited over the past thirty years, and as far as most moviegoers these days are concerned, foreign movies are a rarified taste (best ingested only if the film in question is critically heralded, and preferably based on a famous novel), or in film class. Sad, sad, fucking world….

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cult movies available for free download: Cultra Rare Videos

UPDATE: This site went from offering free films as .avi files, to charging a small amount for them, to disappearing entirely. More's the pity.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that the usual public domain film titles have been joined by a crazy amount of Seventies TV movies that somehow fell into the dark pit of copyright-less-ness which allows low-end home-entertainment companies to crank out “dollar discs” without being prosecuted. Now, a site has appeared that offers free downloads of some really fun cult titles that are languishing in the gap that appeared when the DVD format took over from VHS, Cultra Rare Videos.

The owner of the site maintains that the films he’s making available are all in public domain. Who am I to question, but among the titles are things that at some point, way back when, were films released by major studios, including Peckinpah’s Convoy (silly as hell, but not as bad as its reputation), Simon (really enjoyable, but falls apart near the end), and W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.

I do know that the films this gent (why can I pretty sure this is a gent running this site?) is offering are currently not readily available on DVD in the U.S., and so he is offering a service to cult-movie buffs. The films can be watched on his site (if the thing takes off, I don’t know how he’ll pay for the bandwidth), or you can download them as .avi files. He gives directions for PC-owners, but I own a Mac and had no trouble downloading two films and getting them to play on the all-purpose VLC player (decent resolution too, even in full-screen mode).

Again, I’m not sure why this person is making these films available but I know the Funhouse audience will enjoy. I’ve just included a short list of things that deserve your attention — just as my last post was Sixties-obsessed, this list is extremely Seventies. I’ve omitted the TV-movie titles, but the most notable in that category are Boy in the Plastic Bubble (never could take old Johnny) and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (Cultra also has the boy version of the tale, Alexander: the Other Side of Dawn and a Charlene Tilton runaway telefilm). I think I prefer Tony Perkins in How Awful About Allan (and from that title, you just know Henry Farrell wrote the sucker…). Here is a segment from the unnecessary but still well-acted TV-movie remake of Les Diaboliques starring Tuesday Weld.

Andy Warhol’s Bad, Russ Meyer's Blacksnake, Circle of Two, Coonskin, Claudia Jennings fans, indulge: Gator Bait AND Truck Stop Women (what, no Unholy Rollers?), House of the Long Shadows, Imprisoned Women (ain’t this the late-night staple Cage without a Key?), Rolling Thunder, The Runner Stumbles, Tunnelvision, Willard, and the film that asks the musical question, “when did Gene Hackman, Max Von Sydow, and Catherine Deneuve all work together on a foreign legion movie?” (March or Die). All found here.

The site master gives high marks for sheer campiness to the masterwork du crap, Black Devil Doll From Hell.

I, however, would also like to draw your attention to this stroke of genius, the backwoods, homoerotic, very nutsy, Susan Tyrrell-blessed Night Warning. It’s quite, quite special (and can also be watched on YouTube).

The Sixties: The gift that keeps on giving...

Am glad the page views are growing by the week. And what pray tell brings people to this here blog — or any website for that matter? Well, the first two answers are always sex and music, but you can forget about the first one until the second clip below (then resume your unwholesome gaze). I offer you music from that "rupture in time" that was the Sixties — of course, that decade in reality ended somewhere around 1974 when Tricky Dick left office, and so we have a broad field in which to play in. And we find such odd moments as this, wherein two singers on the staid and oh-so-square Lawrence Welk Show warble a tune that I don't believe they understood:

Offering a nice cross-section of certain interests in the era, we have this poster, who has done some nice work setting girlie reels to excellent Sixties tunes:

Here’s another nice one. And another one that, yes, includes nudity. On YouTube (gasp!).

I’m assuming most of you have seen this wonder, the all-too-trippy Raquel Welch special from 1970:

I’m sure some’a you also know where this groovy scene originated, but I don’t.

I recognize Annie Girardot in this beyond-mod scene, but I don’t know what film it’s from. It is another slice of unabashed Sixties.