Posted in Adventure-Action, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Patrick McGoohan, Rock Hudson, Secret Agents and Spies on October 12, 2011 by Bill Courtney
1968/Director: John Sturges/Writers: Alistair MacLean (novel), Douglas Heyes (screenplay)
Cast: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Nolan, Alf Kjellin, Gerald S. O’Loughlin   
My dad was stationed on Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio Texas in the late 60’s. One of the little perks of being the son of a military dad was having the ID card that got me onto the base and then inot some cool places, like the bowling alley, the BX (base exchange), the cafeterias and of course the various bland looking movie houses. With my ID card it cost me all of 35 cents to see assorted spaghetti westerns, horror and sci-fi films, comedies and once in a while a real movie. Such was the case with Ice Station Zebra, a film I saw all alone in the base theater at about the age of eleven. Shot in stunning 70mm  with a dramatic score (restored in full with intermission music on the version I have) it was awesome to behold on the big screen and if I remember right I saw it about three times in a week.

The film is based, somewhat loosely I understand, on the 1963 spy thriller of the same name by Alastair MacLain. His earlier The Guns of Navarone was made into a successful movie with Gregory Peck and David Niven and MGM hoped to turn this new novel into another box office winner. The film in fact did well and earned a couple Oscar nominations for special effects and cinematography but lost out to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It also revived the career of Rock Hudson as an action star after he had become somewhat typecast in his pillow talk movies with actresses like Doris Day. Charlton Heston was originally slated to play Hudson’s role as Captain Ferraday but declined saying the script was too weak. While Heston would have shone in the role Rock does just fine as the capable Captain of the USS Tigerfish as it heads towards the North Pole on both a rescue and top secret mission that involves British spies, Russian defectors, U.S Marines and not one single female character in the entire film.

The story begins in Scotland where Submarine Captain Ferraday (Hudson) is given the mission of taking the USS Tigerfish up under the polar ice caps to rescue the scientific team stationed at Ice Station Zebra following a reported series of explosions there. An overland, or over icepack, route is ruled out and Ferraday is none to pleased to receive orders that his command is second to a British spy named “Mr. Jones”, played by Patrick MacGoohan who took some time off from his The Prisoner TV series to do the film. Jones is brilliant but slightly jumpy and sleeps with a gun under his pillow and drinks plenty of “medicinal” whiskey to balance himself out. The rescue mission is actually a cover for retrieving a capsule that was ejected to Earth from a satellite. The capsule contains something that both the Americans and Russians are racing to the North Pole to get first. The Tigerfish later receive by helicopter two unexpected visitors. One is a constantly smiling and helpful Russian defector named Boris Vaslov (Ernest Borgnine) and the other is tough and disciplined Marine Captain Anders (Jim Brown).
Sabotage becomes a concern on the Tigerfish after a torpedo tube that is being used to launch a torpedo through the ice becomes filled with sea water and floods the torpedo room when it is opened, killing one sailor. Of course we know this guys is totally dead since right before they open the hatch he is talking about his wonderful future and the girl he wants to marry. Never talk about that stuff before a dangerous mission. Suspicions bounce from Mr. Jones to Vaslov and even to Anders.
The scenes of the Tigerfish under the ice look spectacular for the time really. Finally a thin enough layer of ice is found and the Tigerfish surfaces only to find Ice Station Zebra in smoldering ruins with scientific team all near death from exposure. In no time both Vaslov and Jones are looking for something and Ferraday wants to know what it is. We find out soon enough that Vaslov (and how can anyone trust a smiling overly helpful Russian, defector or not, during the Cold War period) is the saboteur after he waylays Jones with a crowbar. Jones mistakingly. shoots Anders when he wakes up groggy and sees the two mean fighting. It is soon learned that the capsule that landed at Zebra contained a Russian made camera with highly advanced American film inside, and soon the Russians, led by the serious and determined Colonel Ovstravsky (Alf Kjellin) arrive they and the Americans have a stand off over who goes home with the goods. In the end Ferraday detonates the canisters as it is hoisted upwards by a weather balloon, thereby symbolizing a draw between the two super powers. I have never read except in reviews and understand MacLean had a tenser and less optimistic ending.
A great movie for people who like Cold War thrillers and submarine dramas. The Arctic sets looked wonderful, and all the more wonderful since they are in fact studio sets. I love old movies sets and if this film is ever remade they will probably film it on location somewhere and while it will look more realistic it will lose that magic, perfect appearance that sets often provided a scene. There of course are some problems such as the fact that while we hear wind effects no one’s hear is even blowing, the lack of frozen condensation when people exhale and I read that keeping the parka laden actors free of perspiration was a difficult task. Really happy I found this one and highly recommend you give it a shot.



Posted in Cowboys and Desperados, Eurohorror, Necrofiles on October 11, 2011 by Bill Courtney

1971/Director: Edwin Sherin/Writers: Roland Kibbee, David Rayfiel

Cast: Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Frank Silvera, Jon Cypher, Richard Jordan, Barton Heyman, Hector Elizondo   

I love a good western. I saw this at a cinema matinee actually when it first came out for like .35 cents if you can believe that. The film has the edgy violence a lot of action films had at the time and seems influenced not only by Sam Peckingpah but spaghetti western directors as well. In fact the film was shot in Spain using some of the same locales that Sergio Leone used for his westerns. Bob Valdez is played by Burt Lancaster and is a local constable who feels driven to collect a small amount of money to pay the widow of a man he was tricked into killing. The ruthless rancher Frank Tanner (Jon Cypher) will not hear of it and has Valdez essentially crucified. What tanner does not know is that the life weary and soft spoken Valdez was once a skilled tracker, marksman and Indian hunter and he is now pretty pissed off and is out to get even. Richard Jordan does good as the big mouth coward Davis and forgotten beauty Susan Clarke is Tanner’s wife Gay Erin who gets kidnapped by Valdez and is drug through the mountains and wilderness as Tanner’s posse pursue them and are picked off one by one with Valdez’s Sharps long rifle. All this over $100. From the book by Elmore Leonard.


1964/Director: Lindsay Shonteff/Writers: Ronald Kinnoch, Frederick E. Smith

Cast: Bryant Haliday, William Sylvester, Yvonne Romain,     Sandra Dorne, Karel Stepanek, Francis De Wolff   

Most ventriloquist movies, like Magic with Anthony Hopkins, have the dummy as the villain who drives the ventriloquist insane. In the not too bad Devil Doll the dummy is actually the victim and the ventriloquist the tormentor. The great Vorelli (Bryant Haliday) is not only a gifted ventriloquist but a master hypnotist as well who has earned some degree of success with a stage act. On top of all this he also dabbled in the black arts at one point in his life and learned how to transfer souls from a human body to his dummy, which he did n the case of his old assistant Hugo. A spat of murders is happening in London and American reporter Mark English (William Sylvester) soon suspects Vorelli though he always has an alibi. Vorelli becomes infatuated with rich girl Marianne Horn (Yvonne Romaine) and sets out to so some soul transferring with her but first needs to get rid of his clingy assistant and former lover Magda (Sandra Dorne). There are some spicy scenes of Dorn that revel more butt cheek than you were used to seeing in those times, especially from plump near middle aged gals. In the middle of this is the tormented dummy Hugo who has to do the bidding of Vorelli but has his revenge in the end of course. The movies is not great but, as I said, is not too bad. I saw the MST3K version and it was pretty funny. Not sure how it should stand up with on the comedic onrunning commentaries.


1995/Director: Luca Bercovici/Writers: Sam Bernard, Luca Bercovici

Cast: Stella Stevens, Shannon Whirry, Luca Bercovici, Brant von Hoffman   

Granny stars former sex kitten Stella Stevens (The Nutty Professor) as an aging and rich woman whose family is hovering her like a bunch of vultures waiting to collect on her will. She is close to one of her granddaughters Kelly (Shannon Whirry) whom the rest of family ridicules and mocks. Kelly has tended compassionately to Granny in her last years and asks for and expects nothing in return. Which is good since that is what she gets later. Granny drinks an elixir of youth that was exposed to direct sunlight and thus goes bad. Rather than regaining her youth Granny turns into a demon that set abut exacting revenge on all her family members, including nice girl Kelly for some reason. The action and acting is pretty campy but this is a fun little piece of trash. The movie went to VHS pretty fast and there is ample nudity and violence to make up for the whacky script and direction. Everyone seems to playing it tongue in cheek.


1958/Director: Charles Saunders/Writers: Brandon Fleming

Cast: George Coulouris, Robert MacKenzie, Norman Claridge, Marpessa Dawn, Jimmy Vaughn   

Probably the horror sub-genre I have always had the hardest time with is the man-eating plant one. I had some of the same issues with this film but it is pretty good. The problem I have is the plant is usually immobile and some evil doctors has to continually lure victims to feed the plant. The doctor here is Dr. James Moran (George Colouris) who discovered a plant in South America that produces an elixir that will return the dead to life but the plant, naturally, must be fed a diet of beautiful girls to produce the proper serum which he finds in plentiful supply in a quit London suburb. The obligatory odd assistant is Tanga (Jimmy Vaughn) who plays bongo drums with a frenzied look on his face which hypnotizes the gals allowing the doctor to escort them to the tree of doom. Lots of complications after the doctors hires a new and attractive keeper he gets the hot for upsetting his former housekeeper and, we assume, lover. I wound up liking the film and my only complaint might be that the tree creature looks cool but in only on the screen for a total of about five minutes. Great to watch the socially inept and unattractive Dr. Moran pick up some female plant food in a pub with all the ease of a Casonova.


2007/Director: Dario Argento/Writers: Jace Anderson, Dario Argento

Cast: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Moran Atias, Udo Keir, Jun Ichikawa

 Mother of Tears is supposed to be the final part of a Dario Argento trilogy that began with Supirira and then continued with Inferno. I have Inferno but have never watched it and hope it succeeds in tying the films together as I see no connection to Suspiria in this film yet. Aregento struggles to make a single coherent film and I have doubts about his pulling off a trilogy story that spans three decades. Asia Argento plays an American studying art restoration in Rome. She and her and her friend decide to forget the boss’s rules and they open an ancient urn and then figure reading some ancient inscriptions in the dark would be nice as well. Of course this moves the plot along as a ridiculously fast pace and we are treated to demons and a brutal death in less than ten minutes into the film. Soon Rome is plunged into a crime and suicide wave and Sarah (Asia Argento) must work alone to save the world from some sort of apocalyptic nightmare that I never quite understood. Udo Keir has a brief role as a priest and the deaths are fairly explicit. A woman tosses her baby over the railing of a bridge in one strange scene that rated a replay or two. The usual Argento confusion for the most part but filmed nicely with enough good moments to get a recommendation from me it but it is mostly for Argento fans.

All Necrofile selections are candidates for a more thorough article at a later point in time.


Posted in American Horror, Caroline Munro, Gore, Joe Spinell, Tom Savini, William Lustig on October 9, 2011 by Bill Courtney
1980/Director: William Lustig/Writers: C.A. Rosenberg,Joe Spinell
Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Abigail Clayton, Kelly Piper, Rita Montone, Tom Savini
For my article about the William Lustig film Maniac I simply scanned over the disk for some new screen captures and watched a few scenes over to refresh my memory. I will probably rewatch the film in its entirety soon but I have seen the movie a few times in the past and will rely more on my general impressions of the movie from past viewings than from a fresh rewatch. I first rented the film on VHS back when I lived in San Antonio Texas. It was time when I was renting stuff I read from films books I owned, like The Psychotronic Video Guide and my collection of horror books. There was no Internet back then to learn about films. The reason I watched the film was because Tom Savini did the effects and it was a period when I wanted to see every film Savini had something to do with. Sadly the guy now has decided to be an actor rather than a special effects master. In fact even back then he appeared in many of the films he worked on, such as George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Martin. Savini’s make up work on this feature are some of his goriest to be sure. One classic scene is almost universally reviled by critics and it features Savini himself getting his head blown off by a point blank range shot gun blast. It still looks horrible three decades later.
Now the real problem with this movie is not Savini’s graphic make-up effects or the over top performance by star and co-writer Joe Spinell. Both Savini and Spinell are great, as is Carolyn Munro as Anne who is pursued by Spinell’s psychotic and sexually disturbed  Zito, but the trouble is with Lustig’s often shoddy direction and the overly bleak story by Spinell and C.A. Rosenberg. Of course I still recommend the film. All films here at The Uranium Café are recommended and films I like. But there is some reason I did not want to sit through it yet one time to do a better review. And yet it must say something about me that I have seen the film three or four times already. I just am not in the mood for the film’s despairing atmosphere right now is all. The same issue with the German film Necromantik. I have been wanting to rewatch it for a review but do not want to put myself through the experience right now. And I may be too harsh on Lustig’s direction since the film had a very low budget of about $350,000 and was shot, like The Last Horror Movie, guerrilla style (meaning usually without filming permits for locations). But some of the editing and production guffaws are simply creative negligence. And yet those glitches give the film some much needed campyness as the overall tone is otherwise unrelentingly grim and oppressive.
The story is about a lonely and schizoid landlord named Zito who keeps a collection of mannequins in his apartment. He likes to adorn the mannequins with the scalps of real women and then have conversations with them in his bed. He has monologues with his dead mother who was a cruel, over bearing prostitute. After a while Zito gets bored with his current bed partner and set off to find a new victim. Any film like this requires suspension of disbelief and acceptance of certain implausibility’s. But the relationship that develops between obviously sleazy Zito and photographer Anne is a little too much. Anne accidentally snaps a photo of Zito and while attempting to retrieve the picture, for whatever reason, Zito develops an appreciation for Anne’s work and soon he and Anne are dating and she actually seems attracted to the scum bag in some scenes. Now whether Zito is a twisted serial killer or not is beside the point. It is stretching things a little too much to think hot looking professional photographer Anne would waste much, if any, time on him or give a damn about any of his opinions on her work. The gore sequences are great if you like that sort of things and Spinell is over the top in a fun sort of way but the film lacks any of the wit or humor found in The Last Horror Movie and one wonders if Spinell is trying to deliver a film similar to Taxi Driver in which he a small role.

An interesting piece of trivia is that the song Maniac, used in the film Flash Dance, by Michael Sembello was inspired by the film. It was not, as some sites report, written specifically for the film. Nonetheless the score was disqualified for an Oscar award after it was discovered it was not written specifically for Flash Dance. In fact some lyrics were altered for the Flash Dance version. Here is an example of before and after maniac lyrics:
He’s a maniac, maniac that’s for sure,
He will kill your cat and nail him to the door
She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
I would like to hear that original version myself if a version was ever recorded.The movie was released without a rating and it is felt it would have received an X rating at the time of its release for its extreme violence. Spinell wanted to do a sequel to the film but died in 1989. It was certainly a film role only he could pull off. However that has stopped Lustig from sealing a deal in 2009 to do a remake of the film. I just think one Maniac is enough and who in God’s name could ever weep over a mannequin wearing a bloody scalp the way Joe Spinell could?


Posted in Camp-Cheese, Science Fiction-Fantasy on October 6, 2011 by Bill Courtney


1953/ Director: Arthur Hilton/ Writers: Al Zimbalist, Jack Rabin
Cast: Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, Marie Windsor, William Phipps, Douglas Fowley, Carol Brewster, Susan Morrow, Suzanne Alexander
The storyline for Cat-Women of the Moon is a familiar one for the 50’s and 60’s. A group of men, with maybe one female in the gang, are stranded somewhere, an island, lost civilization on the far side of a secret mountain or a planet like Venus or even the earth’s moon, and there they encounter an all female race of something similar to Amazons. The race may or may not be dying off and what men there are, if any, are kept as slaves and the occasional stud service. Some similar films would be Abbot and Costello Go To Mars (they actually went to Venus in the film) Invasion of the Star Creatures, The wild Women of Wongo, Mesa of Lost Women and quite a few others. The plots are usually the same and some recurring themes would be a young and cocky guy who is fast with the wisecracks who feels he has died and gone to heaven and hits on anything that breathes, a greedy opportunist who wants to pilfer the wealth the Amazon type women horde and a romance between the queen and the group leader. The virility of the male leader awakens feelings in the queen she has not felt in a long time and clouds her better judgment which usually dictates she execute all the outsiders. There is usually a power struggle as well within the female society between the old school led by the queen and a group of usurpers who are simply wanting for the right moment to strike, such as when the queen is weakened by her feelings of love for a big hunk of man. Both Cat women of the Moon and Missile to the Moon contains almost all of these essential ingredients and despite being cheese fare they are actually well made and enjoyable movies.

Cat-Women of the Moon is the story of the first manned mission to the moon and among the crew of five is one woman Helen (Marie Windsor) who seems to the object of romantic interest of the by-the-book mission commander Laird (Sunny Tufts)and the number two man the hot headed and chauvinistic Kip (Victor Jory). Kip wastes little time in putting the moves on Helen as she is nursing him after an accident on the ship caused by a rouge meteor. The behavior of Kip is so callus and unprofessional that it could only happen in an old film like this. And obviously while Helen affirms she is Laird’s gal she likes the little cat and mouse game with manly Kip as well. Women in films from the 50’s and 60’s always liked overt sexual harassment as a form of prolonged foreplay and even a prerequisite to marriage. If the guy does not stalk her and harass her then he must not love her. Also on board is the young buck Doug and the shifty Walt. This crew was a result of the space program’s earlier selection processes and it would improve greatly by the time of the Gemini and Apollo missions. For an as yet to be explained reason Helen, the navigator, decides to land the ship n the moon’s uncharted dark side. There is little conflict with the crew over this and soon the ship is settled on the moon’s surface and the crew are out in their space suits exploring the Luan terrain. Along with all the other normal gear necessary to explore the moon Kip takes along a loaded pistol. You never know right?

Helen leads them to a cave where they soon find there is enough oxygen to not allow them to remove their space helmets but all of their spacesuits as well. Of course I do not mean they are standing around in their underwear, they have their uniforms on but I am not so sure it is a good idea to remove your entire spacesuit in an unexplored cave on the moon. The cave has oxygen and that is good, but it also has huge black spiders and that is bad. The spider is a huge puppet that moves pretty darn slow luckily. Helen freaks out and runs and the runs decided to go and box with the damned thing. It never occurs to Kip to use the gun he brought along and after being hit the face a few times by the guys the spider disappears. Soon they realize their spacesuits have vanished (see, bad idea) and soon they meet some of the Cat-Women who look pretty sexy in their black leotards. Kip bullies them with his gun of course but soon the crew are being led to the underground kingdom of the dying race of moon women led by Queen Alpha (Carol Brewster). As it turns out Helen’s mind has been controlled for sometime by the Cat-Women who need a spaceship to escape the moon’s decaying atmosphere, the remaining bit being contained in the cave. Young Doug falls in love in a matter of moments with good hearted Lambda (Susan Morrow) and Walt is soon on the trail of valuable minerals contained in the cave walls. Helen is not always under the spell of the Cat-Woman and Lambda has reciprocated Doug’s love in the same short span of time and warns the crew of their deadly fate if they do not escape soon.

Overall this is a pretty fun movie and one worth a couple watchings if you are a refined cheese lover. It is well made for the time and the lunar landscapes look pretty decent. The movie is also known as Rocket to the Moon but that can be easily confused with our second feature which is Missile to the Moon. If for nothing else this movie worth a watch for the sexy gals in it. I feel they are much sexier in their black cat suits than the bevy of beauties in our second feature are. But I am a sucker for cat suits I guess.


Posted in Frankenstein, Ishiro Honda, Japanese Films, Mad Doctors and Scientists, Nazis, Science Fiction-Fantasy, Toho Studios on October 6, 2011 by Bill Courtney


1966/Director: Ishirô Honda/ Writers: Reuben Bercovitch (story),
Takeshi Kimura
Cast: Nick Adams, Tadao Takashim, Kumi Mizuno, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Koji Furuhata
Frankenstein Conquers the World is one of the oddest entries into the history  of the Frankenstein library of often already odd films. It crawls out of Toho Studios and is directed by the great Ishiro Honda. It stars American actor Nick Adams (the Johnny Yuma TV show) in one of his three films with Toho. He plays scientist James Bowen who is hot on the trail of the Frankenstein Monster (though it is referred to throughout the film as Frankentstein) with the help of his lovely assistant Sueko Togami (Kumi Mizuni) and fellow scientist Dr. Kenichiro Kawaji (who is determined to obtain one of Frankenstein’s members or organs for future research).
The action originates in Nazi Germany towards the end of WWII when a mad scientist’s laboratory is raided by Nazi guards and the heart of Frankenstein (the monster) is taken then transported to Imperial Japan by submarine. Exactly why the Nazi’s would give away this potential asset to their conquests is never explained, but the heart winds up in the safest of places in Japan to carry out secret research, the city of Hiroshima. Fifteen after Hiroshima is baked to a crisp a strange kid begins to appear around the city and eats some of the local small animals. The boy is captured and for some odd reason is said to possess Caucasian features, no doubt to tie the beast in with the European creator and monster, but actor Koji Furahata does not look in any way Caucasian. Soon the lad has grown to gigantic proportions and escapes his holding cell leaving one of his severed but animated hands behind. In no time he is being blamed for the destruction of local villages and inns, but that is actually the handy work of subterranean monster Baragon (the alternate title is Frankenstein vs Baragon). Needless to say a duel is inevitable between the titans and as usual it is full of giant monster doing judo flips and spewing fire.
The photography and miniatures are excellent -if you are easy going on those matters- as they usually are in Honda’s films, though the super-imposed scenes are lacking in quality. Nick Adams seems a little dim witted to be a geneticist but it makes the movie even more fun. Scenes that the American distributor wanted included with Frankenstein fighting another duel with a giant octopus were deleted from the final version, but reappeared later as an alternate ending. The monster is one of the oddest on film (and there have been plenty of odd Frankenstein based monsters) and in many ways the creature stays in line with the legend: flat head, mistaken crimes, good heart and intentions that are misread and fascination with a beautiful woman. Baragon later reappeared in Destroy All Monsters and Frankenstein reappears in War of the Gargantuas. Maybe not for non-Toho fans, but a must for big monster (Kaiji) and detailed miniature lovers. 



Posted in Australian and New Zealand Films, Drama, Russell Crowe, Soundtrack Samples on October 5, 2011 by Bill Courtney


1992/Director: Geoffrey Wright/ Writer: Geoffrey Wright
Cast: Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie, Alex Scott, Leigh Russell, Daniel Wyllie, James McKenna, Eric Mueck, Frank Magree,
Romper Stomper was early on in Russell Crowe’s movie acting career and when I first saw the film on VHS back in the 90’s he had yet to achieve the level of stardom he has since attained. Had I known Crowe already and some of the Hollywood work I have seen of his lately, such as A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man I would have thought something like “wow, he really made some wild movies way back then, not like Gladiator at all”. But when I first saw the film I really knew very little of the guy and doubt that I even knew his name, which only added to the intensity of this already riveting drama about angry skinheads in Melbourne Australia. Crowe is simply mesmerizing as Hando, the leader of a band of skinheads who focus their hatred and violent behavior on the local Asian community, and Vietnamese in particular. The film was written and directed by Geoffrey Wright and has a blood pumping soundtrack of instrumental music as well as bombastic skinhead punk rock music. Along with Crowe are Australian actress Jacqueline McKenzie and actor Daniel Pollock, who had played a small role with Crowe in 1991’s Proof, another great independent Australian film.

The film opens up with Hando and his band of neo-Nazi misanthropes intimidating and beating some Vietnamese skateboarders in the train station of a blue collar neighborhood in West Melbourne. The scene quickly set the tone and pace for the rest of the film and there is little let up as the tensions between Hando and his gang and the local Vietnamese escalate as the immigrants seek to find business opportunities in their community. Hando is the dangerous yet charismatic leader of the group and his best mate is Davey, a brooding, thinking type who has a softer nature. He hides his tattoos from his German speaking grandma and collects matchbook covers his father sends him. He seems to have roots the rest of the band lack, including Hando, who reads quotes from Mein Kampf and hurls Italian pasta rather than eat “wop” garbage. The friendship seems solid and deep until Gabe (McKenzie) is introduced into the story as a sexual diversion for Hando. Gabe is really screwed up herself as she is running away from her incestuous father Martin, played well and creepy by Tony Lee.

Gabe is more educated than the thugs she throws herself in with but she falls under the spell of Hando and is even excited by the violence and vandalism the gang dishes out on anybody anything that crosses them. This becomes not more apparent than when it is discovered the local Vietnamese are going to buy the pool hall they hangout in and turn it into a restaurant. The skinheads become immediately enraged and their racial loathing becomes utterly apparent. They go and beat a couple teenagers nearly to death and perhaps would have, if not for the fact one boy who escaped the beating returns with carloads of Vietnamese youth, already fed up with the skinheads, who soon begin to outnumber and over power Hando and his gang. A really great chase and fight sequence develops with great sound effects and film score. In the end the skinheads are driven back to their warehouse hangout and are driven out and it is sacked and burned.

Seeking refuge the gang boot out some squatters from another warehouse and during their time there it is found out that Gabe is an epileptic after she has a seizure. The uncultured and crass skinheds mock her and call her a “spazz” and imitate her seizures and only Davey has any sympathy. It is this incident that drives a wedge between Davy and Hando. Hando kicks Gabe out, both because he is put off by her epilepsy, but also because of her sarcasms about him and the gang botching an easy job the night before, that of robbing her father’s house. Davey tells her to seek him out as soon as she can. She is totally pissed and in the heat of anger calls the cops and tells them where Hando and the gang are hiding and they are the ones responsible for the attack on the Asians and the robbery and assault on her father. The cops show up and the youngest member who waves a fake gun at the cops. Gabe spends the night with Davey (and there as a couple really wild sex scenes in this flick) and when Hando shows up the next day they all flee the police search. Hando kills a convenient store clerk who looks Indian or Pakistani with his bare hands and the three are fugitives for murder now. The film ends with Davey fighting Hando on the beach after Hando tried to choke the life out of her when he finds out she was the one who called the cops. Hando dies violently with the Nazi dagger he loaned Davy the money for earlier in the film.

The movie is brutally powerful and Crowe is chilling as the sociopathic Hando. The acting and direction is excellent from start to finish. The film was shot on 16mm and has a look much older than 1992. Actors Daniel Pollack and Jacqueline McKenzie had an off screen relationship during the filming of the movie. Problem with the relationship as well as Pollock’s attempts to manage his heroin addiction may led to his suicide by jumping in front of a train, shortly before the film was released. The incident was made into a song by Crowe’s rock band at the time 30 Odd feet of Grunts called The Night That Davey Hit the Train.
Below is an MP3 sample of one the catchy Aryan pop classics from the film.


Posted in Cedric Gibbons, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Johnny Weissmuller, Kings and Queens of the Jungle, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tarzan on October 5, 2011 by Bill Courtney


1934/Director: Cedric Gibbons / Screenplay: Edgar Rice Burroughs (books),Leon Gordon
Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, Paul Cavanagh, Forrester Harvey, Nathan Curry

Tarzan and his Mate was the second Tarzan movie from MGM and it surpasses the original by far. It is considered by many Tarzan fans to the best Tarzan movie of all time, hands down. While Weissmuller still plays a simple minded Tarzan there can be no denying the sexual energy between him and Maureen O’ Sullivan. O’ Sullivan appears so scantily clad it is exhilarating for any time in history, much less 1934 The DVD the deleted nude under footage of Jane swimming with Tarzan. It is not, unfortunately, really Maureen O’Sullivan. She does flash her breasts as she emerges from the water and the nude silhouette undressing in a tent scene. Her costume was so skimpy and revealing it prompted the creation of the Hayes Office, a censorship committee that soon had influence over the entire industry.

The jungle scenes are more elaborate and the action is directed better by the more visionary Cedric Gibbons (though an uncredited Jack Conway is also given credit for completing much of the film) though there were conflicts and in early films two other directors were listed at different times. Some people claim that James McKay actually directed the bulk of the film but on the new DVD version Gibbons is the credited director. It was his first directing job, as he was MGM’s brilliant art director prior to this film. To be honest, along with the blatant sexuality of the film there is a rather strong violent aspect to the movie as well and the next two movies were toned down in both areas considerably. There was not much being done in 1934 that was like this one. The bad bawana is played creepily by Paul Cavanagh. He is looks down on the savage Tarzan as no more than a real ape and spies on Jane as she undresses in her tent. The action involves a return to Africa by good bawana (although in the 1st film I did not think he was so good really) Harry Holt, played again by Neil Hamilton. The “natives” are stereotyped to the point of  uncomfortable comedy and makes for many unintentional laughs. Most definitely a great movie with lots of history behind it. Check it out if you like ape men and jungle girls,  and who the heck doesn’t?

NOTE: This post and my post for Tarzan the Apeman were salvaged from old drafts and most of the finished text was lost. These Tarzan posts were not the only casualties and I am not sure what happened except that many Word Docs I had saved were simply blank. Expect rewrites and original screen captures for both posts at some time in the future. For now please make due with the two posts I have put up here and a choice selection of images from the net. 

I realize that many of these images are not from Tarzan and His Mate and will eventually get up some original screen captures as I said above. The more “covered” Jane are from later Tarzan films while the ones where she is showing lots of curvy skin is from this film.