Memory Lane: Drive-In Movies

Sean Connery in Zardoz | Considerable

Behold Sean Connery in hot pants and, I guess, go-go boots, starring in the 1974 science fiction classic–they kept saying it’s a classic–Zardoz. Good grief.

I turned to Patty yesterday and said, “Y’know what I’d like to do this evening? Take us to a drive-in movie.” Only of course that was looking back into the past; today the nearest drive-in is some hundred miles from here. All the ones we used to have–and enjoy–have been replaced by pack-’em-in housing and strip malls. Progress, don’t you know.

One night in the 70s we went to the dear old Amboys Drive-in to see Zardoz, which was supposed to be a classic. My brother Mark brought the beer. Patty watched the opening credits. “Oh, boy! John Alderton is in it!” She loved him in Upstairs, Downstairs. By the time Zardoz was halfway over, it was “Poor John Alderton!” With Mark in the back seat uncontrollably guffawing over the dialogue (“The ***** is evil. The ***** shoots seeds.”) Incredible, that Connery’s career survived this.

Every now and then you caught a good movie at the drive-in. But some of the bad ones were… well, indescribable. Like Caligula impersonating the Goddess Dawn. But if I listed just half a dozen of those and admitted I saw them at the drive-in, you’d think there was something wrong with me. Yeah, there was: I was in my early 20s.

We can’t go to the drive-in anymore. It’s been stuffed into extinction. People under a certain age have never seen one.

I call it a loss.

‘”John Carter” Movie: Boo! Hiss! Away Wi’ Ye!’ (2012)

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Those old Bob Abbett covers were the best.

I started reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter” books in junior high and have enjoyed them ever since. These are glorious works of art, the best books Burroughs ever wrote. And of course I used to wonder how they might translate to a movie.

Aaaaaagh! They don’t!

‘John Carter’ Movie: Boo! Hiss! Away Wi’ Ye!

Just more proof that Disney Corp has taken the noon balloon and has nothing to offer anymore.

You may wonder what I’m doing, talking about movies on a Sunday.

Well, when the movies are this bad, someone ought to say something. It points to moral and spiritual problems elsewhere.

Emergency Addition to TV Listings! Don’t Miss It!

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Crikey, get this one added to the TV listings, pronto! I don’t know who’s fault it was that this got left off yesterday…

G’day! Byron the Quokka here, with an emergency addition to yesterday’s TV listings. We’ve had to juggle the schedule a bit, but it’ll be worth it!

SUNDAY, June 6

9:15 P.M.  Ch. 16   MOVIE–Romance and Drama

“The Bear-foot Contessa” (1959)–she’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s rich… But thanks to an ill-advised scientific experiment, she has the feet of a 750-pound grizzly bear! This makes it extremely hard for her to buy shoes, and formal ballroom dancing is all but impossible. Movie historians rate this as Sally McBloo’s greatest role. Mr. Banyantree: Ben Kingsley.  Harvey Cedars: Humphrey Bogart. Mr. & Mrs. Stringbean: Maude Adams.

New! Racial Glasses for Your Racist Eyes!

Silly Glasses Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Why go to all the trouble to make a black Superman movie (https://www.inverse.com/entertainment/dc-black-superman-jj-abrams-clark-kent) when anyone can just put on a pair of glasses that lets you see anyone in any color you please? Besides which, who goes to the movies anymore? There’s nothing to see.

Ah! But imagine you’re watching a Superman movie and just burning up inside because Superman is white. What do you do?

You put on a pair of Co-lor-Spex from Pdgaa Products–and presto! Everyone in the movie, even in the crowd scenes, is black! No more whiteys anywhere. Buy a different pair of Spex for every color!

And they work with pictures in books, too. And TV broadcasts. And for stuff streaming on your computer. Even the nooze!

With Co-lor-Spex you will never again–never!–have to see people who aren’t the right color. But wait, there’s more!

Pdgaa’s crack research team is working on All Day Co-lor-Spex so that every person you see in public or in private will be in the color that you want to see! You’ll never again see anyone who’s in the wrong skin color!

And they’re only $1.99 a pair! Order yours today!

 

Attack of the Skeletons!

I’d like to watch one of my all-time favorite movies today–Jason and the Argonauts (1963), featuring two of the most extraordinary special effects scenes ever created: the skeletons’ attack, and the colossal statue of Talos coming to life. These were the work of the late Ray Harryhausen: and although most of our current special effects tools and techniques were not available to him in 1963… he didn’t need ’em!

So here is a bit of the skeletons’ attack. The whole movie’s available on YouTube, in case you want to join me in watching it. If you’ve never seen it before, you’ll be astounded by what could be done, back then, without computers.

Hey, you might even get a little bit scared, for a minute or two! But don’t worry: this kind of scare only lasts a few minutes, and then you can have a laugh about it. Really, it’s a form of sanity medicine.

What a Movie!

High & Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa) – Brandon's movie memory

Every now and then we like to watch a movie with some meat to it, and a story that needs telling. Yesterday we found a keeper: High and Low (1963), directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune–and right there you know it’s gonna be great. Based on a classic police story by Ed McBain.

If you ever wondered why God treats envy as a sin, this film will clue you in. It’s all about the destructive power of envy. Mifune’s character overcomes his own darker side; the villain in the story, devoured by envy, can’t. And I wonder if I ought to warn you: this is powerful stuff.

There are some plot twists in here that’ll knock you for a loop, with another volcanic performance by Mifune, one of the world’s great film actors, and another great story by Kurosawa, one of the world’s great directors, who often lent a hand in writing his movies’ screenplays.

And never mind that it’s a Japanese movie! Kurosawa was great because he spoke to all of us; that’s why his movies never grow old. High and Low is set in modern times, but Kurosawa’s samurai epics touch all times and peoples.

So, yes, envy is a sin, and High and Low superbly teaches that. I don’t know whether Kurosawa was a Christian, although Mifune was (his parents were Methodist missionaries).

Envy is the mother’s milk of left-wing ideologies. That’s why they do so much damage. The bad guy in High and Low missed his calling as a 21st-century Democrat in America. He had to settle for being a kidnapper in 1963 Japan.

Memory Lane: Nick Cravat

Nick Cravat - Rotten Tomatoes

Nick Cravat with Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate

If you’re an old movie buff like I am, you may have wondered about this odd little guy who did gravity-defying stunts in nine films with Burt Lancaster. The two were lifelong friends and had been circus acrobats together, early in their careers.

Nick Cravat, born Nicholas Cuccia, almost never spoke in his movies because he thought his thick Brooklyn accent would be a drawback. But boy, could he mime! And Lancaster didn’t seem to mind his old friend stealing scene after scene. And the stunts! They have to be seen to be believed.

And hey! Y’know that famous Twilight Zone episode from 1963, in which airline passenger William Shatner gets freaked out when he sees a gremlin making mischief on the airplane’s wing? That was Nick Cravat! I never knew that until today.

He was one of a kind; and if you can find The Crimson Pirate on your computer anywhere, watch it. Enjoyment guaranteed! Thanks to Nick Cravat.

Rated PG for… ‘Historical Smoking’

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What with movies wallowing in every sexual perversion known to a fallen world, in violence, crime, atheism, cynicism, and New Age twaddle, what do you have to show to get a PG rating?

Smoking!

Fap! Why, that Sherlock Holmes is no better than the criminals he catches! He smokes a pipe!

And this from the “Legalize Recreational Marijuana” crowd.

If smoking had been the worst thing the Kennedys ever did, they’d’ve been saints instead of politicians.

 

Jesus Raises Lazarus (from ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’)

This is another thing I like to post every Easter: Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, in The Greatest Story Ever Told. The emotional impact of this scene speaks for itself.

Why did Jesus do miraculous works? So that they would be a witness to whom and what He is. We have the Scriptures, we have the works, we have eyewitness testimony, and we have the Holy Spirit: Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior.

And here is where the Bible parts company with pious pagan fictions: John 11: 39:

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

This kind of realism would not enter fiction for centuries yet to come.

A Movie That Should Open Your Eyes

To the Ends of the Earth (1948)

Here’s a movie that’s older than I am, and yet amazingly, maybe even shockingly, pertinent to today.

To the Ends of the Earth (1948) stars Dick Powell as a U.S. Treasury agent trying to bust up an international drug ring. Set in 1935, it might as well be now.

This film gave me an insight I’d never had before: the drug trade and human trafficking feed on one another: you don’t have one without the other. Agent Barrows gets one look at the human trafficking aspect of the crime–and I ought to warn you, it’s an intense scene–and devotes himself to bringing the criminals to justice.

To do that, he has to travel all over the world–to China, Egypt, Lebanon, Cuba, and then back to New York. Wherever he goes, he has to liaise with his local counterparts–men of all different countries, all working together to protect the world from organized evil. Here we cross over into fantasy-land, because all these guys are brave, unselfish, cooperative, and pure… instead of being unspeakably corrupt themselves.

But the idealism behind the film does come through, and I found it rather affecting. If only things could really be that way!

Alas: how could organized crime exist without criminals in government?

Nowadays we’re dealing with Mexican drug cartels, international bad guys in China and Iran and Russia helping them along, and massive human trafficking across our ruptured southern border. These are evils countenanced by the Democrat Party, whose leaders work hard to block reform. Whether they’re getting paid off by Communist China or just acting out of pure perversity depends on the individual.

We still have the problems dealt with in this film; but the idealism is now in short supply.