Ho Daddy! Surf’s Up!: FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG (United Artists 1964)


cracked rear viewer

Kowabunga! The success of 1963’s BEACH PARTY begat a deluge of Teen Beach Flicks, loaded with sand, sun, and surf, not to mention babes in bikinis, sturdy, studly boys, and rock’n’roll music. And while the Frankie & Annette/AIP sequels have a charm of their own, most of the imitators ranged from fairly okay (IT’S A BIKINI WORLD) to pretty mediocre (CATALINA CAPER) to downright bad (WILD ON THE BEACH) . FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG falls into the first category, thanks to a lively cast headed by heartthrobs James Darren and Pamela Tiffin, and a slew of Familiar Faces from movies and TV.

Just don’t expect Shakespeare or anything like that, because FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG is as harmless a piece of movie fluff as you’ll ever come across! The plot is so simple even could’ve come up with it: all the sorority girls are going ga-ga over…

View original post 869 more words

Music Video of The Day: These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (1966, dir by ????)


This song seems like a good one for Super Bowl Sunday.  One team is going to win.  The other team is going to have these boots walking all over them.  Actually, I guess football player don’t wear boots.  But maybe they’ll slip into some boots after the game is over.  Who knows?

This song was written be Lee Hazlewood, who was originally planning on singing the song himself.  Apparently, his version was meant to be even more aggressive than the version that was ultimately recorded by Nancy Sinatra.  From Songfacts:

Hazlewood often drew inspiration for his songs from regular people. In a Blender magazine interview, he said he was in a Texas bar when some patrons started razzing an older guy about his younger girlfriend and how she controlled him. The man responded by putting his feet on a barstool and saying, “I know what you think – that she might be the boss. But I am the boss of my house, and these boots will walk all over her the day that I’m not.”

Lee had written the song for himself: “It was a party song I had written two or three years before that. It was a joke to begin with. I had written a beautiful song for her, ‘The City Never Sleeps At Night,’ and she wondered if it would sell. I replied, ‘Three times more than ‘So Long Babe,’ and that did 60,000. We’re building up your career.’ I changed my mind and put it on the back of ‘Boots’ and that sold 6 million.”

Nancy Sinatra recalled in the documentary The Wrecking Crew that Lee Hazlewood was going to record the song himself, but she talked him out of it. Said Sinatra, “When a guy sings it, the song sounds harsh and abusive, but it’s perfect for a little girl.”

Enjoy!

Get Your Motor Runnin’ with THE WILD ANGELS (AIP 1966)


cracked rear viewer

Roger Corman  kicked off the outlaw biker film genre with THE WILD ANGELS, setting the template for all biker flicks to come. Sure, there had been motorcycle movies before: Marlon Brando in THE WILD ONE and the low-budget MOTORCYCLE GANG spring to mind. But THE WILD ANGELS busted open box offices on the Grindhouse and Drive-In circuits, and soon an army of outlaw bikers roared into a theater near you! There was BORN LOSERS , DEVIL’S ANGELS, THE GLORY STOMPERS , REBEL ROUSERS, ANGELS FROM HELL, and dozens more straight into the mid-70’s, when the cycle cycle revved its last rev. But Corman’s saga of the freewheeling Angels  was there first; as always, Rapid Roger was the leader of the pack.

Our movie begins with the classic fuzz-tone guitar sound of Davie Allen, as Angels president Heavenly Blues (Peter Fonda ) rolls down the road to pick up club…

View original post 422 more words

Enjoy Christmas With The Dean Martin Christmas Show!


sinatra

I was doing a search on YouTube for Christmas specials, Christmas songs, and Christmas scenes when I came across The Dean Martin Christmas Show, which originally aired on December 21st, 1967.  It’s a Christmas show starring Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and their respective families.  Sure, some of the jokes may be corny but c’mon — it’s Frank and Dino!

Now, the video is occasionally a little rough.  I assume that this was copied from a VHS tape.  But no matter!  Not only does this special serve as a time capsule but it also serves as a valuable reminder that Christmas is even better when it features a little Rat Pack swagger!

 

 

James Bond Film Review: You Only Live Twice (dir. by Lewis Gilbert)


In the days leading up to the American release of Skyfall, the Shattered Lens has been taking a look at the previous films in the James Bond franchise.  Today, we take a look at the 5th official James Bond film, 1967’s You Only Live Twice.

Released two years after the critically derided but financially succesful Thunderball, You Only Live Twice was a step in a new direction for the Bond series.  As Sinclair McKay explains in his brilliant book on the Bond films, The Man With The Golden Touch,  both the world and the movies changed a lot between 1965 and 1967 and You Only Live Twice reflected that change.  Director Lewis Gilbert and screenwriter Roald Dahl were newcomers to the Bond series and the film they created would serve as a prototype for the flamboyant, big budget espionage fantasies that would come to epitomize many of the later entries in the franchise.

You Only Live Twice begins with one the Bond franchise’s more elaborate precredit sequences.  During these first few minutes, the film rather boldly announces that You Only Live Twice is going to be a bit of a departure from the previous Bond films.  The film begins not with Bond but with two anonymous American astronauts orbiting the Earth in a small capsule.  The two astronauts are blandly chatting with mission control on Earth when, suddenly, another spacecraft approaches and literally swallows the American capsule whole.  One of the astronauts is hurled into space as a result and, as his body spins away, it’s obvious that Bond’s not going to be dealing with something bigger than just another guy looking to hold up Fort Knox.

The Americans blame the Russians while the Russians claim that they’re being framed by Americans and the entire world appears to be on the verge of war.  But as always happens in the Bond films, the British are there to keep everyone from overreacting.  A British diplomat is seen calming down the belligerent super powers and assuring them that MI6’s “best man” is already on the case.

(One of the undeniably charming things about the Connery and Roger Moore  Bond films is the way that the United Kingdom is portrayed as being the world’s unofficial third superpower.)

Cut to Hong Kong, where James Bond is lying in bed and asking his latest conquest, “Why do Chinese girls taste different?”  And, at this point, I think it’s fair to say that Bond is really lucky that he looks like a young Sean Connery.  Suddenly, gunmen storm the bedroom and open fire, apparently killing 007.

Oh no!  I guess the world is doomed, right?  We’re left to consider this sad reality as we watch the opening credits and listen to Nancy Sinatra sing the film’s excellent theme song.

Well, of course, James Bond isn’t really dead.  He faked his death so that he can safely go to Tokyo and investigate who was behind the attack on the space craft.  You Only Live Twice was filmed almost entirely on location in Japan and a good deal of the film’s first half is devoted to scenes of Bond simply observing Japanese culture.  It’s a bit like Lost In Translation with an espionage subplot.

After fighting a few random henchmen, Bond meets Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba), the head of the Japanese secret service.  Tanaka seems to spend the majority of his time getting massages from the dozen or so young women who wait on him hand-and-foot.  “In Japan,” he tells Bond, “men come first, women come second.”  “I might just retire here,” Bond replies.  Uhmmm…okay.  Thank you, 1967.

In order to continue the ruse that Bond’s dead, Tanaka arranges for Bond to take on an assumed identity.  After being trained on all aspects of Japanese culture and on how to fight like a ninja, Bond is heavily disguised to look like a Japanese fisherman.  Tanaka arranges for Bond to fake marry a local girl named Kissy (Mie Hama).  Kissy is probably one of the least interesting Bond girls in the history of the franchise.  Beyond walking around in a bikini while wearing high heels, Kissy just doesn’t have much of a personality.

Bond and Tanaka’s investigation lead them to a shady industrialist named Osato and his secretary Helga Brandt (Karin Dor).  Helga is about as close as You Only Live Twice comes to featuring a strong female character.  Not only is she an assassin who has no problem with killing a man who she’s just had sex with but she’s also a redhead, just like me!

Anyway, it’s not until very late in the film that we finally meet Helga’s boss.  If for no other reason, You Only Live Twice will always be remembered for featuring one of the great Bond villains.  After being seen in the previous Bond films as just a hand stroking a white cat, Ernest Stavros Blofeld makes his first on-screen appearance here and fortunately, he’s played by Donald Pleasence.

Looking at Pleasence’s performance today, the natural tendency is to compare his Blofeld to the iconic character that he inspired, Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil.  However, one reason that Dr. Evil became such a popular character is because Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld is one of the great film bad guys.  As delivered by Pleasence in his casually off-center way, every line of Blofeld’s dialogue drips with the promise of perversion and hints of the neurosis that fuels his every action.  Blofeld spends most of the movie hiding out in a secret base that’s hidden inside a hollow volcano.  He strokes that ever-present white cat and uses a pool of piranhas to punish failure.  It is a credit to Pleasence’s performance that you never, for a second, doubt that Blofeld could very well be living in a hollow volcano.

I have to admit that You Only Live Twice is not my favorite James Bond film, though there are plenty of things that I do like about it.  Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, and Desmond Llewelyn all make welcome appearances and there is a genuinely exciting scene where Bond flies around in a toy helicopter.  Working on his first and only Bond film, Oscar-winning cinematographer Freddie Young captured some beautiful images of Japan and Blofeld’s volcano lair is one of the franchise’s best locations.

That said, You Only Live Twice often moves a bit too slowly for its own good and, with the exception of Blofeld and occasionally Helga Brandt, none of the film’s supporting characters are all that interesting.  Charles Gray, who later took over the role of Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever, has a nice cameo as a decadent retired intelligence agent but he’s killed off before he can make too much of an impression.  Perhaps worst of all, Connery spends most of this film looking like he’d rather be doing anything other than play James Bond for the fifth time.  By his own account, Connery eventually grew bored with the role and that’s certainly obvious in You Only Live Twice.

Connery’s boredom can perhaps explain why, during the shooting of You Only Live Twice, it was announced that he would not be returning to play the role in the 6th Bond film.  The Bond franchise would continue with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but it appeared that Connery would no longer be a part of it.

We’ll be taking a look at that film tomorrow.

6 Trailers in Tribute to Roger Corman


On Thursday night, my twitter timeline briefly exploded when it was reported that legendary filmmaker Roger Corman had just passed away.  I immediately jumped over to Wikipedia and I saw that Roger Corman was officially listed as being newly deceased.  Quickly, I jumped back over to twitter and I tweeted, “R.I.P. to one of the most important figures in American film history — the legendary Roger Corman.”  I then sent out another tweet in which I pointed out that this meant that two of the men who has played senators in The Godfather, Part II — G.D. Spradlin and Roger Corman — had died this year and within months of each other.

Immediatly, one of my twitter friends tweeted back, “If only real Senators would die as quickly.” 

“Agck!” I thought to myself, “how do I respond to that?  If I get all offended or humorless, I might lose a follower.  If I say yes, that’s a good point, I might end up getting put on some sort of super secret government list…”

Even as I worried about my future as a subversive, I was thinking to myself that the best way I could pay tribute to the late Roger Corman was to devote my next edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation trailers to his memory.  Yes, I decided, the next edition would have be all Corman, a celebration of the man, his life, and his movies…

And then it turned out that Roger Corman wasn’t dead.  Turns out that some idiot journalist named Jake Tapper tweeted that Corman was dead and that’s what set off a chain reaction of false assumptions and early tributes.  However, Roger Corman is still alive but you know me.  Once I get an idea in my head,  I have to see it through.  Letting things go is not one of my talents. 

So, with that in mind, here are 6 trailers in tribute to Roger Corman, who is not dead.

1) The Trip (1967)

In 1967, Roger Corman directed this film in which Peter Fonda plays a tv director who drops acid and ends up having a really bad trip.  The script was written by Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper plays a random guru guy.  Bruce Dern is in it too.  As far as drug movies go, The Trip is actually pretty good though it does indulge in some of the standard Renaissance Faire imagery that all movies seem to use whenever attempting to visualize an acid trip.

2) St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)

I recently saw this movie, Roger Corman’s first “studio” film.  I have to admit that I thought it was a little bit slow but it had some fun performances and Jack Nicholson gets a memorable cameo where he explains why he dips his bullets in garlic.

3) The Intruder (1962)

In 1962, Roger Corman and William Shatner teamed up to make this look at racism and the people who exploit it.

4) The Raven (1963)

This is one of Corman’s famous Poe films.

5) The Wild Angels (1966)

Peter Fonda again.  In this seminal biker film, Fonda again costars with Bruce Dern.  Fonda’s girlfriend is played by Nancy Sinatra who, by the way, is one of the few celebs on twitter who will not only follow back but who will also actually respond to her followers.

6) It Conquered The World (1956)

Finally, let’s end things off with some truly old school Corman — It Conquered the World!  This was Corman’s 3rd film as a director and his first major success.

Here’s to you, Roger Corman!  Thank you for the movies and congratulations on still being with us.

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (performed by Nancy Sinatra)


These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ is one of my favorite songs, one of those that is perfect for making either an entrance or an exit.  There’s probably not a day that passes without this song playing somewhere in the back of my head.

Written by Lee Hazelwood, this song has been recorded by everyone from Jessica Simpson to Megadeth but I prefer the version that made it famous, Nancy Sinatra’s.

Plus, the video for Nancy’s version cracks me up because, if you look real closely, one the dancers has got a run in her hose. *

—-

*Actually, as I sit here typing this on my lunch break, so do I.