A Movie A Day #174: St. Ives (1976, directed by J. Lee Thompson)

Raymond St. Ives (Charles Bronson) is a former cop-turned-writer who desperately needs money.  Abner Procane (John Houseman) is a wealthy and cultured burglar who needs someone to serve as a go-between.  Five of Procane’s ledgers have been stolen.  The thieves are demanding a ransom and Procane believes that St. Ives is just the man to deliver the money.  But every time that St. Ives tries to deliver the money, another person ends up getting murdered and St. Ives ends up looking more and more like a suspect.  Who is the murderer?  Is it Janet (Jacqueline Bisset), the seductive woman who lives in Procane’s mansion?  Is it Procane’s eccentric psychiatrist (Maximillian Schell)?  Could it be the two cops (Harry Guardino and Harris Yulin) who somehow show up at every murder scene?  Only Ray St. Ives can solve the case!

Charles Bronson is best remembered for playing men of few words, the type who never hesitated to pull the trigger and do what they had to do.  St. Ives was one of the few films in which Bronson got to play a cerebral character.  Ray St. Ives may get into his share of fights but he spends most of the film examining clues and trying to solve a mystery.  The mystery itself is not as important as the quirky people who St. Ives meets while solving it.  St. Ives has a great, only in the 70s type of cast.  Along with those already mentioned, keep an eye out for Robert Englund, Jeff Goldblum, Dana Elcar, Dick O’Neill, Daniel J. Travanti, Micheal Lerner, and Elisha Cook, Jr.  It’s definitely different from the stereotypical Charles Bronson film, which is why it is also one of my favorites of his films.  As this film shows, Bronson was an underrated actor.  In St. Ives, Bronson proves that, not only could he have played Mike Hammer, he could have played Philip Marlowe a well.

St. Ives is historically significant because it was the first Bronson film to be directed by J. Lee Thompson.  Thompson would go on to direct the majority of the films Bronson made for Cannon in 1980s, eventually even taking over the Death Wish franchise from Michael Winner.

A Big Screen, Some Popcorn, and JAWS (Universal 1975)

cracked rear viewer

Dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun…..

This past Wednesday night, I went out to New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theater to watch a screening of the summertime classic JAWS. The Z, as we locals call it, began life as a vaudeville palace in 1923, and five months later changed its name to The State and ran the latest silent movies. The State operated as a movie house until the late 70’s, with the historic building refurbished in 1982 and retro rebranded as the Zeiterion, hosting concerts, plays, dance, and other performing arts. The city (which now owns and operates the Z) recently purchased a state-of-the-art high-definition digital projector and, after an absence of almost a year,  movies are back in New Bedford! They kicked off a “summer series” of films with Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster scarefest, filmed not far from here (just a fast ferry ride away aboard the Sea Streak) on Martha’s Vineyard.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”


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America Has Fallen: Movie Preview/Review and trailer

Amerca fallen


Written, Directed and Star: Tom Getty


When a former marine is framed for a deadly terrorist bombing, he must track down the mastermind behind the plot. But soon he discovers an even deadlier conspiracy that threatens the nation. One that will force him to choose between the freedom of millions, and his own survival.


I am going to make this short and sweet:

I love low budget indie films. They are the bread and butter of what I review.  Getty somehow manages to pull me in by keeping a torrent pace, which is a good thing. You never really get to focus on what is right in front of you.

The CGI is just what you would expect. The acting, well the same.

Would I recommend this movie?

Let’s grab a few beers, sit down and watch the trailer:

And if you want, I’ll watch the movie with you!

America Has Fallen will be available on VOD July 4th 2017

Music Video of the Day: Working For The Weekend by Loverboy (1981, dir. Arnold Levine)

Happy Canada Day!

What is that? I know what that is. That’s dialog.

I’m sorry, but MTV and VH1 have told me all my life that Love Is A Battlefield by Pat Benatar is the first music video to have dialog in it. I have a few theories about this.

The first is that while I don’t think anyone would say that Loverboy songs aren’t fun and catchy, they and their videos are what they are. I could see MTV wanting something impressive like Love Is A Battlefield to hold such a coveted crown.

Another reason is that they might have just forgotten this had dialog in it. That is the most probable theory I have. That dialog really doesn’t need to be there. It would have been taken care of by having the band introduce a video with a VJ. Based on the comments section on this video, I have a feeling they edited that out so much that people didn’t know it existed till at least 2011 when this video was posted on YouTube. It wasn’t unusual for MTV to edit videos for time. That’s why there are two versions of We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister.

The last theory is that this was added in for the post. It isn’t impossible. A lot of bands have had their videos released on DVD. This could have been ripped from that DVD to post on YouTube. For example, the officially posted versions of a bunch of Golden Earring’s videos are from a compilation DVD called The Devil Made Us Do It. I don’t put much stock in this theory.

The dialog, while boring, leads into the song, which lends credence to my belief that this was meant to be the start of the video. If you look at some of the other videos that were shot at the same time–Turn Me Loose, Lucky Ones, Gangs In The Street–then you’ll notice that director Arnold Levine liked to stick something in there to spice it up, when in reality, they just filmed them performing on the same stage over and over again. Take a look at the videos. You’ll notice it’s the same stage without even having to read the quote below from lead singer Mike Reno taken from the book MTV Ruled The World:

We would play the song over and over again, and we’d bounce around like we normally did. Here’s what I thought was kind of interesting: The director would say, ‘OK, we’re going to shoot another song, now go get changed.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You have to put on a whole new outfit, and we’re going to change the lighting a bit.’ But it was the same stage! So basically, we just had to get some other clothes, fix your hair, take a break, and then jump back on stage and do the same thing over and over again. I really felt like I was being abused a bit, but that’s the nature of the beast.

Also, consider it to be a music video or not, he directed You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) by Meat Loaf that has dialog at the beginning. That was done in 1978. He also did the 1982 black-and-white version of I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts that ends with people chattering at a bar. It seems like something that was already a part of his repertoire.